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"Bureaucracy is the death of any achievement."

-Albert Einstei

There is not a more honesty-enforcing device in modern life than a compiler and the attendant run-time system, nor a greater intellectual joy than the art and science that can be created with it. But IT departments are generally managed by people who failed programming.

C Wright Mills standard of leadership - "men without lively imagination are needed to execute policies without imagination devised by an elite without imagination"

From: The American Criminal Justice System: How It Works, How It Doesn't , and How to Fix It


Losing one’s freedom is an awful condition even in a minimum security prison. Nevertheless, American society has not found any other means of protecting normal citizens from the violence perpeby citizens who murder, rape, assault, and rob others. It is evident, therefore, that prisons and jails are needed for the protection of all who seek to lead a peaceful existence. It is true, of course, that imprisonment does not protect against individuals who behave violently and are not incarcerated. In fact, criminologists recognize that 85 percent of those who have been convicted of a violent crime come from a violent home, so the most fruitful way of preventing violence would be to teach our citizens not to do violence to their families, and particularly to prevent children from witnessing violence or becoming the victims of violence. As long as education against violence does not succeed, we have no alternative but to imprison those who harm others and endanger innocent people among us.

Therefore, it is of the greatest importance that prisons be used only as a last resort against those who threaten our lives and well-being. Unfortunately, the people in charge of our criminal justice system cannot always be trusted to prosecute, sentence, or imprison only dangerous offenders. For too long, the prisons of the United States have been misused by some people in power to imprison sick people who are addicted to illegal substances, for example, or to incarcerate people who are innocent of any crime or those who are too poor to be defended by a competent attorney. It is not the purpose here to seek the abolition of the criminal justice system or to claim that all who commit violence against their fellows should go free. Instead, it is the intent here to show how the prison-industrial complex can be improved and the criminal justice system made more just.


In 1998, Eric Schlosser, writing in The Atlantic Monthly, defined the prison-industrial complex as “a set of bureaucratic, political and economic interests that encourage increased spending on imprisonment, regardless of the actual need.”

The aforementioned “interests” have succeeded in bringing about the incarceration of over 2 million Americans in jails and prisons throughout the United States. In 2007, local jails held 780,581 prisoners, and state and federal prisons held over 1.5 million prisoners. This means there were about 750 prisoners in American institutions for every 100,000 residents. This figure indeed reflects the highest rate of imprisonment recorded for any country in the Western world. For example, in the United Kingdom (i.e., England, Scotland, Northern Ireland, and Wales), the imprisonment rate per 100,000 population is 340. In France, the imprisonment rate is 93; and in Germany, 98. Likewise, other European countries have imprisonment rates ranging from 352 per 100,000 population in Latvia to 37 in Iceland.

The argument that the United States has far more crime than other countries cannot account for this immense rate of imprisonment because the U.S. violent crime rate has declined steadily for a number of years. For example, in 1977, the American homicide rate was 7.7 per 100,000 population. In 1980, that rate had risen to 10.2 and continued to exceed 9 per 100,000 through 1994. From then until 2007, the homicide rate declined each year, reaching a low of 5.5 in 2004 and increasing slightly to 5.9 in 2007. Similar rates of decline were recorded for forcible rape, which decreased by 2.5 percent between 2006 and 2007; and robbery, which decreased by 1.2 percent between 2006 and 2007 and showed a 5.5 percent decline since 2003. Aggravated assault decreased by 1 percent between 2006 and 2007 but had decreased by 21.5 percent since 1998. Evidently, violent crime in the United States declined mainly because the birthrate had decreased; as a result, the proportion of young men who commit the most violent offenses was smaller in 2007 than in earlier years.

In 1910, the U.S. birthrate per 1,000 population was 30.1. This declined to 23.7 in 1960 and further declined to 14.0 by 2005. The rate remained there for three years thereafter.

It is debatable, of course, what categories of nonviolent offenders should be incarcerated. In the United States, this debate has been decidedly won by those law enforcers who seek to imprison as many citizens as possible by criminalizing all kinds of conduct that is by no means criminal elsewhere in the world and by increasing the length of sentences handed individuals convicted of various crimes. It should be remembered that American prisons hold innumerable innocent people as well as drug addicts and other ill people who fill up our jails and prisons, all to the benefit of the prison-industrial complex and to the detriment of tax-paying citizens.

New construction of prisons is not related to a reduction in crime. It is instead related to improving the income and finances of the people who benefit from victimizing the poor, the illiterate, the ill, and the helpless. Included in the prison population are a considerable number of innocent people, a large number of individuals addicted to drugs other than alcohol, nonviolent white-collar offenders, and individuals whose conduct has been deliberately criminalized to increase the prison population.

In the early 1990s, California taxpayers spent $400 million to build two towers in downtown Los Angeles. Both towers are used as jails. It takes over 800 employees to move more than 6,000 prisoners through these facilities every day. The prisoners are booked, fingerprinted, sorted, and locked into cells already crowded with other prisoners, who have been there longer. Since 1980, California has built 21 new prisons, which are the ultimate destination of most of the people locked in the local jails. This growth in the prison industry has led to a sevenfold increase in the California prison population. Prison construction costs during the years since 1980 have forced taxpayers to spend $5.3 billion. In addition, it costs the state $4.8 million a year to maintain these prisons. This is only one example from one state of the huge investment in prisons that American politicians have promoted at taxpayers’ expense.6

The phenomenal growth in prison populations is not limited to California. Instead, we find that while the U.S. population has grown by 20 percent in the past 20 years, the prison population has doubled. Another example of the growth of prisons may be found in Oklahoma. There, five criminal justice bills passed by the legislature in 2007 cost taxpayers over $46 million. In addition, another bill costing $42 million more was passed by legislators who wanted to be reelected on the grounds that they are “tough on crime,” a phrase without substance other than its effect on the electorate. As prison construction increased, the state gained 900 new inmates in one year alone. As a consequence, the Oklahoma Department of Corrections is seeking another $40 million in a supplemental appropriation.7

Yet another example of the considerable cost of prison construction may be found in Dallas County, Texas. There, the Dallas County Detention Center was built in 2007 at a cost of $61.7 million. That facility is a 330,000-square-foot, four-level, medium security prison holding more than 2,300 inmates. Evidently, a prison of such size needs a steady stream of prisoners to ensure that the cells are always full and politicians can claim they are protecting the public. The fact is that as such prisons are built, more and more bodies are needed to fill them. That goal is achieved by seizing on those who cannot pay for lawyers, who are innocent, or who are victims of drug abuse. The Constitution of the United States is also a victim of the incarceration craze, as the erstwhile guarantee that everyone is innocent unless proved guilty by a jury of one’s peers appears forgotten or ignored, especially by the media.

In Arkansas, the Department of Corrections, using prison labor, is spending $40 million to construct a 339,442-square-foot concrete addition to an existing prison; and in Louisiana, $16.4 million was spent to build a new jail in Livingston County. In Mississippi, the Adams County Prison is being expanded at a cost of $105 million, thereby employing 450 workers who would otherwise be unemployed as the economy suffers a nationwide downward trend.

Such spending on prisons, which can be found nationwide, began in 1963, when Senator Barry Goldwater of Arizona sought to improve his chances of becoming president of the United States by using the fear of crime to attract voters. Subsequently, Richard Nixon used the same tactic during his successful 1968 campaign. Then, in January 1973, the then-governor of New York, Nelson Rockefeller, demanded in his State of the State address that every illegal drug dealer be imprisoned for life without parole.9

In New York, the construction of prisons on a large scale began during the administration of Mario Cuomo, who was elected governor of New York in 1982. At that time, the prison population of New York had increased considerably because of the Rockefeller drug laws. Seeking reelection, Cuomo needed public approval and chose the worn-out “tough on crime” slogan to achieve this. In view of the defeat of a $500 million bond issue to build more prisons, Cuomo used the state’s Urban Development Corporation to build prisons instead of housing for the poor. Cuomo spent $7 billion building prisons in upstate New York, above Watertown in the rural Adirondack district. There had been considerable unemployment in that area of New York, so the construction of 27 new prisons in “the north country” employed many people in construction work and later as prison guards. Since Cuomo was also opposed to the death penalty, he sought to ward off criticism that he was “soft on crime” by increasing the prison population in his state.10

The cost of incarceration in 2008 was indeed phenomenal. On the average, it costs about $29,000 a year to house one prisoner in a double-bunk-bed cell in a minimum security prison. The cost rises to $61,000 for a double-bunk bed in a medium security prison and

becomes $110,512 a year to house one person in a maximum security prison. It is understood, of course, that costs vary from state to state and from prison to prison. Nevertheless, these expenditures are the outcome of politics in that legislators, whether county, state, or federal, want to be reelected by shouting the “tough on crime” slogan, no matter what it costs the taxpayer. Few voters think about these costs. Those who vote, and they are always a small minority of those eligible to vote, make their decision on the basis of the emotion of the moment. The majority of eligible citizens do not vote in state and local elections and therefore have no influence on the spending habits of incumbents.

In October 2007, Senator Jim Webb of Virginia held a Joint Economic Committee hearing entitled “Mass Incarceration in the United States: At What Cost?” That hearing revealed that the United States spent $49 billion on prisons in 2006 compared to $17 billion in 1987. Whereas the world average rate of imprisonment is 166 per 100,000, the U.S. average imprisonment rate (750) even exceeds that of Russia, which imprisons 628 residents per 100,000. The U.S. imprisonment rate is so high despite the constant decrease in the American crime rate since 1990. Evidently, the increase in incarceration is not the result of increases in the crime rate but results from changes in penal policy. Two such changes have brought about the mass imprisonment of Americans. One of the changes has been the criminalization of conduct heretofore not recognized as criminal. The other change is motivated by profit, which the incarceration of over 2 million citizens provides for numerous politicians and greedy business establishments.

Among those who profit from the misery of the semi-slaves locked into our prisons are construction companies and the politicians who receive financial support from them at the next election. Then there is the telephone company, the suppliers of goods and services, private prison corporations, and numerous residents of small towns whose employment depends on the prison industry. Often, the town’s citizens are members of the powerful prison guards’ unions, whose votes are needed by politicians at their next reelection effort. All those interests militate against the reduction of U.S. prison population even as the money spent prevents the funding of such vital needs as the education of children and young adults, the support of the homeless, and the feeding of the poor.


Alcohol is a drug. Therefore, the prohibition of the use of alcohol in the United States, which went into effect in 1920 and ended in 1933, constituted a war on drugs. It is common knowledge, of course, that Prohibition failed because Americans wanted to use alcohol and did so despite the law. In fact, laws that are contrary to the mores of American society cannot succeed because they do not gain support from the public. Law is but one form of custom. Other customs, or social laws, are folkways, defined as such conduct as shaking hands on greeting someone or eating ham and eggs for breakfast. Mores involve social conduct supported by popular opinion but not enforced by legal means; keeping oneself clean, using polite language, respecting one’s elders, or attending religious exercises are all mores. Laws are statutes that either order that something be done—paying taxes, for example or prohibit such an action as stealing or using drugs.

When Prohibition was repealed by the Twenty-first Amendment in 1933, numerous law enforcement agents and prison operators were threatened with losing their jobs and their careers. Therefore, it became vitally important to the people who benefited from the imprisonment of alcohol suppliers and users to continue by other means some form of prohibition, though not of alcohol. Those other means were the introduction of laws prohibiting the use of drugs other than alcohol.

It had become evident by 1930 that alcohol would shortly be reintroduced as a legal substance because its suppression had visibly failed by then. As a consequence, there began in 1930 a campaign against the use of marijuana. This drug, also known as cannabis, became the target of people who viewed it as especially dangerous because of its association with Mexicans (the term “marijuana” is Mexican for “Mary Jane”). That this bigotry is a principal reason for the campaign against marijuana is best illustrated by taking a look at the leading annual causes of death in the United States. The data reveal that in the years 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, and 2004, more people died from tobacco-related diseases than any other category of death-inducing conditions. Tobacco killed about 435,000 Americans in each of those years, yet tobacco has not been prohibited. Alcohol-related deaths amounted to about 85,000 each year, and prescription drugs killed 32,000 people legally each year. Yet, by contrast, all illicit drug uses were responsible together for 17,000 deaths in each of the years from 2000 through 2004.11

It was also found by researchers that marijuana alone has never caused even one death, although marijuana in combination with other drugs, notably alcohol, has killed some users.12

The foregoing findings demonstrate that the laws prohibiting some drugs other than alcohol were not derived from scientific analysis regarding the danger of their use but are the products of political decisions based on the interests of those who have a financial stake in having these laws enforced.

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Old News ;-)

"I appreciate Woody Allen's humor because one of my safety valves is an appreciation for life's absurdities. His message is that life isn't a funeral march to the grave. It's a polka."

-- Dennis Kusinich

[Jul 15, 2019] Jeffrey Epstein Is Exhibit A for Capitalism's Moral Bankruptcy

Highly recommended!
Jul 15, 2019 |

By throwing millions of dollars at the legal system, Epstein successfully enlisted Alex Acosta, a sitting U.S. Attorney who just resigned as Trump's Labor Secretary, to grant the admitted sex offender a non-prosecution and an immunity agreement.

That deal, that a federal judge has since ruled illegal, helped conceal a vast child-sex trafficking operation that targeted vulnerable minors by offering them $300 and then employed a kind of pyramid scheme where victims were recruited to find new victims.

For decades now, as a general assignment reporter, I have had front row seats for a procession of these kinds of defendants. I have seen the likes of Epstein before.

Over my life as a journalist, as the whirlwind of wealth concentration stripped so many threadbare, these guys have prospered on an unprecedented scale. In our era of late-stage vulture-capitalism, it is these most ruthless predators that are elevated before their fall by our corporate media as living deities.

Rogues Rushmore

The elevation of Donald Trump to the Presidency marks the high-water mark for this underworld crew who masterfully play the compliant corporate media that's transfixed by great wealth and confer upon those that hold it all sorts of intellectual prowess so as to cultivate proximity to them.

As we saw in the Federal prosecution and conviction of Michael Cohen for his role in facilitating the payoff of Stormy Daniels, Trump knows everybody has a price.

These great white men are their own law. They see themselves as the smartest guys in the room. They have the cunning to know how to hollow out others so that they can own their souls. With the precision of an acupuncturist, they pinpoint that pressure point that's the nexus of desire, sexual pleasure or ambition.

These must be done with sleight of hand but even if you are caught red-handed, as long as you have high priced representation on retainer, you can outmaneuver prosecutors.

Weaponized Sex

Charles Kushner, the father of Jared Kushner, President Trump's senior advisor, is another case in point.

Kushner, the real estate mogul and major Democratic campaign donor, was appointed by Governor McGreevey to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey in 2002 and was nominated by the Governor to be the chairman of the board of the sprawling bi-state multi-billion-dollar enterprise in 2003.

McGreevey had to withdraw that nomination and Kushner had to resign when allegations surfaced that the developer's massive donations to his campaign might have run afoul of campaign finance and conflict of interest laws.

The year before Kushner's appointment, while on a trip to Israel, McGreevey crossed paths with Golan Cipel, who was in his early 30s. Subsequent press reports boiled down the young Israeli's bio to his being a former member of the Israeli Navy and a published poet.

In 2002, it was Kushner who sponsored Cipel, for a hard to obtain work visa in the U.S. and gave him a $30,000-a-year job in his northern New Jersey office after Cipel had worked on the McGreevey campaign.

In the immediate aftermath of September 11, 2001, Cipel was nominated by McGreevey to a $110,000 job to lead the state's freshly minted Homeland Security office. Cipel's status as an Israeli citizen and his lack of executive-level counter-terrorism experience sent up multiple flares which McGreevey ignored.

The young Governor doubled down, as he blew through his very limited 'honeymoon' political capital trying to make the appointment stick. But the Governor's wild overstatement of Cipel's work experience doomed the pick and Cipel handed in his resignation in March of 2002. Yet, he was kept on at the same salary as a "policy counselor" a position he would resign from a few months later.

In August of 2004 McGreevey resigned from office disclosing that he was "a gay American", explaining he was compelled to make the bombshell disclosure because Cipel, with whom he had an affair, was threatening to sue him unless he was paid $5 million (McGreevey reportedly called the U.S. Attorney Chris Christie to report the alleged extortion).

But as Cipel tells it on his own website he was the victim of sexual harassment. "All those things that I rationalized to myself seemed very logical at the time, but the sad truth is that I was acting out of confusion and fear," Cipel writes. "Like many other victims of sexual harassment, I chose to deny what had happened."

The Art of the Deal

In August of 2004 the elder Kushner, a towering figure in both American and Israeli politics and philanthropy, pled guilty to a long list of corruption charges that could have sent him to jail for many years if he had been your run of the mill federal defendant of color in a drug conspiracy case.

Kushner admitted to hiring a prostitute to seduce his brother-in-law, who was working with federal investigators against him, then videotaping that sexual rendezvous and sending it to his brother-in-law's spouse, who was Kushner's sister.

But Kushner and his lawyers would ultimately outmaneuver U.S. Attorney Chris Christie , whose major vulnerability was his own infinite ambition for power as we saw with Bridgegate. The night before Kushner was supposed to be in court to plead guilty, the U.S. Attorney leaked the still un-inked deal to reporters.

But as the media waited in Newark the next day for the official deal to be confirmed in the federal courtroom, the appointed time came and went. Behind the scenes, Kushner's lawyers and Christie's team were going back and forth over the terms and conditions of the deal.

By the end of the day, Kushner would enter a guilty plea as advertised, but he made no commitment to cooperate with the government or to offer up any potential co-conspirators. According to the Department of Justice's press release, Kushner pleaded guilty to 18 counts of filing false tax returns, one count of retaliating against a cooperating witness and one count of making false statements to the Federal Election Commission.

By the evening news cycle, the morning's news of a plea deal was finally true, and Christie could bask in the glory. "This is a great victory for the people of New Jersey," said the federal prosecutor who would soon run for governor. "No matter how rich and powerful any person may be, they will be held accountable for criminal conduct by this office."

Each of Kushner's 18 tax counts carried a maximum penalty of three years in prison and a fine of $100,000, according to the DOJ; the witness retaliation count carried a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a fine of $250,000; and the false statement charge provided for a maximum prison term of five years and a fine of $250,000.

Scroll forward to March of 2005, though, and Kushner was sentenced to just two years -- which, The New York Times reported at the time, was the most he "could have received under a plea agreement reached last September," with Christie.

It was clear that Christie's office had been out-lawyered by the Kushner team. And the Christie-approved leak -- before he had closed the deal -- definitely hadn't helped. Before sentencing, the Department of Justice wrote a letter to the judge observing that, in the final analysis, Kushner showed a "failure to accept responsibility" for a long litany of criminal acts that could have landed him in federal prison for decades."

Without a truly thorough prosecution, the House of Kushner would endure and prosper and Kushner would see his son go on to greater things sitting in the star chamber of ultimate power deciding who the U.S. should bomb or sell weapons to.

Equal Justice Not

Our collective attention span is so short and the non-contextual way the news is reported assures we lose track of the narrative thread so when types like Epstein and Kushner cut their deals we miss it.

Without the candle power of the Miami Herald 's probe of the Epstein plea deal, we remain in the dark about how every day great wealth can insulate the guilty, no matter heinous their crime, from really being held accountable.

Meanwhile, those without means, who are innocent, are chewed up and spit out by a criminal justice system that is neither blind nor fair.

"We have a system of justice in this country that treats you much better if you're rich and guilty than if you're poor and innocent," said civil rights attorney Bryan Stevenson in his TED Talk. "Wealth, not culpability, shapes outcomes. And yet, we seem to be very comfortable. The politics of fear and anger have made us believe that these are problems that are not our problems."

[Jun 02, 2019] It s All A Fraud -- Deceptive Edits Found In Mueller Report -

Notable quotes:
"... Mueller's deceptive edits beg the question; what else may have been manipulated by the special counsel to make Trump look guilty? ..."
"... When reached for comment by attorney 'Techno Fog' (@Techno_Fog), Dowd said of the edits: " It is unfair and despicable. It was a friendly privileged call between counsel - with NO conflict. I think Flynn got screwed." ..."
"... Flynn pleaded guilty last year to lying to the FBI about contacts with Russians and is currently awaiting sentencing. ..."
"... Time to lock up that big nosed sneaky ******* *** bastard Andrew Weissmann ..."
"... They were all hired under the supervision of another sneaky *** ****, "No" Rod Rosenstein...who was behind him pulling the strings, who's business was he really doing ? It sure was not the interests of Justice, nor the good of the US. ..."
"... Weissmann, Rosenstein and Mueller ..."
Jun 02, 2019 |

Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) on Saturday called for the immediate release of "all backup and source information" for the Mueller report after internet sleuth @almostjingo (Rosie Memos) discovered that the special counsel's office deceptively edited content which was then cited as evidence of possible obstruction.

" It's all a fraud " tweeted Nunes, replying to a tweet by @JohnWHuber (Undercover Huber), who also posted a comparison between the Mueller report and a newly released transcript of a November 2017 voicemail message left by former Trump lawyer John Dowd, in which he asked former national security adviser Michael Flynn's attorney for a "heads up" if Flynn was planning on saying anything that might damage the president.

Mueller's team omitted key context suggesting that Dowd was trying to strongarm Flynn and possibly obstruct justice by shaping witness testimony, while the actual voicemail reveals that Dowd was careful not to tread into obstruction territory in what was a friendly and routine call between lawyers.

Devin Nunes ✔ @DevinNunes

This is why we need all backup and source documentation for the # muellerdossier released publicly. It's all a fraud...

Undercover Huber @JohnWHuber

Voicemail from John Dowd to @ GenFlynn 's Counsel

LEFT: Mueller report

RIGHT: Full transcript released today per court order

Mueller's hacks removed that Dowd wanted a heads up "not only for the president, but for the country" and wasn't asking for "any confidential information" 20.9K 10:12 PM - May 31, 2019 Twitter Ads info and privacy

12.7K people are talking about this

Dowd qualifies his request by saying " without you having to give up any...confidential information " in order to determine "If, on the other hand, we have, there's information that...implicates the President, then we've got a national security issue, or maybe a national security issue, I don't know ... some issue, we got to-we got to deal with, not only for the President but for the country ."

View image on Twitter
Rosie memos @almostjingo

Once again # MuellerReport edited messages to make them appear more damaging, full transcript of this phone call reveals Dowd's message was pretty typical for a lawyer and he clearly states he's not interested in any confidential info. What else did they manipulate

4,324 5:37 PM - May 31, 2019
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Mueller's deceptive edits beg the question; what else may have been manipulated by the special counsel to make Trump look guilty?

When reached for comment by attorney 'Techno Fog' (@Techno_Fog), Dowd said of the edits: " It is unfair and despicable. It was a friendly privileged call between counsel - with NO conflict. I think Flynn got screwed."

View image on Twitter
Techno Fog @Techno_Fog


We got a statement from former Trump lawyer John Dowd, responding to the Special Counsel's deceptive edits of his voicemail to Flynn's lawyer

"It is unfair and despicable. It was a friendly privileged call between counsel - with NO conflict. I think Flynn got screwed"

4,181 7:31 PM - May 31, 2019
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Dowd told Fox News : "During the joint defense relationship, counsel for the president provided to Flynn's counsel documents, advice and encouragement to provide to SC [the special counsel] as part of his effort to cooperate with the SC," adding " SC never raised or questioned the president's counsel about these allegations despite numerous opportunities to do so. "

Flynn pleaded guilty last year to lying to the FBI about contacts with Russians and is currently awaiting sentencing.

DOJ stonewalls on Flynn evidence

Meanwhile, the Justice Department has resisted a court order to release the transcripts of Flynn's conversations with Russian officials , including former Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak.

This raises at least two questions. First, did the DOJ give Flynn the transcripts? And second, did the DOJ violate a previous court order from Judge Emmett Sullivan to produce evidence during discovery?

Techno Fog @Techno_Fog · May 31, 2019 Replying to @Techno_Fog

Note - per competing Orders, still not certain if Judge Sullivan will require all audio recording transcripts be filed with court. DOJ seems to read the orders that he doesn't need them. https:// tus/1129416066382336000

Techno Fog @Techno_Fog

New entry from Judge Sullivan on the Flynn case.

Read closely at the dates and omissions - could be a change to his prior order that the gov't file "the transcripts of any other audio recordings of Mr. Flynn"

Techno Fog @Techno_Fog

Note that the 5/16 Order required the production of "the transcripts of any other audio recordings of Mr. Flynn, including, but not limited to, audio recordings of Mr. Flynn's conversations with Russian officials"

Compliance may be an issue. Awaiting Judge response...

428 4:39 PM - May 31, 2019 Twitter Ads info and privacy
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Techno Fog @Techno_Fog · 12 h

Re: Flynn

Based on the DOJ ignoring the Court order to file the Russian Ambassador call transcript - I'm assuming they didn't provide it to Flynn's team.

That could also be a violation of the Court's discovery order (linked below). https://www. 8680/Flynn-Judge-Sullivan-Standing-Order-Re-Discovery

Flynn - Judge Sullivan Standing Order Re Discovery

US v. Michael Flynn - Standing Discovery Order of Judge Sullivan; DE 20; filed 2/16/2018
Techno Fog @Techno_Fog

In particular, note these parts of Judge Sullivan's prior 2/2018 Order:

"Due process requires disclosure of "evidence [that] is material either to guilt or to punishment" upon request"

Provide any evidence . . . "material either to defendant's guilt or punishment"

468 11:56 PM - Jun 1, 2019 Twitter Ads info and privacy
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Could there be exculpatory evidence in the transcript that Flynn's team never received? Law Crime

GoldRulesPaperDrools , 4 minutes ago

Mueller was a dirty cop back from his days in Boston dealing with Whitey Bulger. Like most gubmint employees he can't be fired when he ***** up (especially if they're a minority or if they get high up in the management pyramid). He should have been fired from the FBI and probably indicted long before he left Boston.

Add to the fact that he's personal friends with Cankles Clinton's personal legal snowplow James Comey who got her off in the New Square Four issue up in NY and you have a dishonest and biased party. Trump was the only one who called these fucktards on their past. Even the rhinos were quiet and gave Mueller props. He and Comey should be looking at a date with a firing squad along with ex-president Smirking Chimp and several of his leftist cronies.

Pinefox , 8 minutes ago

Let's hope their are some brilliant technologically savvy patriotic citizens who can unearth the corrupt manipulation of evidence and display it to the American people.

Joebloinvestor , 9 minutes ago

Looks like Flynn got railroaded and he willingly took the trip.

pissed off american , 13 minutes ago

lisa barsoomian used to an ACTIVE undercover CIA agent/NWO lawyer and rod rosenstein wife

blindfaith , 14 minutes ago

Imagine my surprise. What else would 18 radical pro liberal Democrat lawyers do to?

Criminal behavior overdue for prosecution and prison terms, and forfeiture of assets. You know like happens to regular folks.

JD59 , 16 minutes ago

Of course it is "ALL A FRAUD" it is called a COUP, by the DEMOCRAT PARTY AND OBAMA!

It was treason and sedition. The good news is, they will never be held accountable because there is no unbiased justice system. Just controlled chaos. /sarc

Teamtc321 , 16 minutes ago

Mueller and Clan forged 302's to charge Mike Flynn with a process Crime, FACT. Period. End of Story.

Listen to this from Dan Bongino from December, follow the proof he speaks of that is coming out as fact now. This is the real Story and it's factual.

Ep. 865 Mike Flynn Was Set Up! The Dan Bongino Show 12/5/2018.

From <

Long, but if you really want to understand how Flynn was set up in a perjury trap, how they did it and then charged him with a process crime.

It's right there and proven factual. Period.

Teamtc321 , 14 minutes ago

Mike Flynn needs to be exonerated, Now. That is a long podcast from Dan Bongino but it is Factual. Not bull ****.

Flynn was set up with Fake 302's, Period.

iSage , 10 minutes ago

Well, they asked him a question and he got the answer wrong in an interview, I say he committed no crime, except to misspeak in a FBI interview.

Hardly treason, or anything other than a memory lapse. Try remembering all your phone call details from 2 years ago?

Teamtc321 , 2 minutes ago

The written notes from the interview, the 302's were dated 6 months after the actual interview also. Bongino not only laid it out, had the doc's to show it.............

Flynn was not only set up, he got rail roaded with the full weight and force of the Mueller Investigation.

They basically broke Flynn trying to defend himself. He lost everything trying to finance the battle.

Non-Corporate Entity , 16 minutes ago

hahahha!!!! Mueller is used to having people in place to overlook his deceptions but now they've been replaced by Americans LOOKING for his deceptions.

St. TwinkleToes , 17 minutes ago

Note to Self:

The US Government, every local and state official, everyone working in academia, all public service employees, military command, and all 70 plus unions representing the entertainment industry and those they employ, are your enemy. Avoid these subhuman pos with all possible means. They are cancers of civilization, a curse upon mankind. Zombies, the walking dead.

Abaco , 20 minutes ago

The first question that should be asked is why the hell is anyone still working at DOJ who is stonewalling the courts and/or the Attorney General. Doing so is a fireable offense and any money spent walking these schmucks through the paperwork and out the door is well worth it. In the meantime they should be order to report to the DOJ branch office in Somalia.

Of course Mueller's team unlawfully withheld discovery evidence and of course they falsified evidence. That ******** Weissman has a track record of doing just that. The fact that the stupid prick still has a law license is evidence enough that the entire federal "justice" system is completely corrupt.

Robert of Ottawa , 18 minutes ago

Quite so Abaco, this is Mueller's modus operandum

johngaltfla , 24 minutes ago

Mueller is a partisan hack who is used as a hit man by the Beltway elites to attack and destroy innocent people. His track record is an abomination and this is just anther verification of how corrupt this son of a bitch really is.

artvandalai , 25 minutes ago

I suppose somebody could still say that there is no Deep State. But nobody nowhere can say that this kind of thing isn't what Deep Staters would do if they existed.

Harry Lightning , 27 minutes ago

Time to lock up that big nosed sneaky ******* *** bastard Andrew Weissmann. He looks like the kind of prick who will spill his guts once threatened with a prison sentence, because he and everyone on the planet knows he would not last one day in the joint.

Once they get him to squeal, the whole house of cards comes tumbling down on that treasonous ********** Mueller. Let's see how tough he really is when the heat is on him for a change. My bet is he wilts like a flower in the summer heat.

They were all hired under the supervision of another sneaky *** ****, "No" Rod Rosenstein...who was behind him pulling the strings, who's business was he really doing ? It sure was not the interests of Justice, nor the good of the US.

Only when this onion is peeled layer by l;ayer will the countrey find out who truly was responsible for this hit job on the President, and Trump should use every available means at his disposal as President to get to the bottom of this horseshit.

Abaco , 17 minutes ago

Weissmann, Rosenstein and Mueller, at the very least should each be hanging, todya, half from the Cabin John Bridge and half from the Woodrow Wilson bridge.

Teamtc321 , 21 minutes ago

Obama Spy Gate is unfolding...

btrp , 28 minutes ago

Mueller picked 16 democrat lawyers for his special counselors office. I'm sure those weasly wittle democrats didn't edit those transcripts.

turkey george palmer , 29 minutes ago

Seems like they want the country to go lawless. Who would.want.tge United States to go down like that.

Britain is the culprit ultimately. Well besides the little ticks with all the money

MalteseFalcon , 32 minutes ago

The FISA system invites abuse. Get rid of it. In fact jettison all post 9/11 security constructs.

iSage , 16 minutes ago

Get rid of Patriot and NDA Acts, as a start! There are plenty more to repeal too!

Teamtc321 , 34 minutes ago

Obama Spied..............

Seth Rich Died...........

While you ******* Crooked Libtards Screech Impeach.................

Teamtc321 , 35 minutes ago

The Rats are being rolled out as the Treasonous Scum they are. Obama Spy-Gate is showing it's face..........

Flynn was set up in a Perjury Trap to get a shitty process crime charge......... Mueller is a Dirty MFER................

Mike Flynn need to be Exonerated, NOW !!!!!!


Former Deputy Assistant AG Toensing: There Is Evidence Obama Administration FISA Abuse Started As Early As 2012 (VIdeo)

On Friday night Sean Hannity invited several expert sources on the Deep State spying scandal to discuss the latest developments in the government spying on the Trump campaign, Trump Transition team and Trump administration.

Pro_sanity , 37 minutes ago

With such overwhelming evidence of DOJ, FBI and IC / proprietorial fraud, if there are is no "real" investigation - which should be a mere formality - to confirm severe malfeasance, and worse, followed up by prosecution and punishment, then I'm staying the **** home next elections ... totally sick of this ******* two-tiered ****.

[May 15, 2019] Barr s Investigator John Durham Once Probed Mueller In A Shocking Case

Highly recommended!
So Strzok worked with Mueller in Boston. Really close circle of friends.
Notable quotes:
"... In December 2000, Durham revealed secret FBI documents that convinced a judge to vacate the 1968 murder convictions of "four other FBI informants because they'd been framed by Robert Mueller's FBI. ..."
"... "In 2007," to help protect Whitey Bulger (that's what all those people were held in jail for) "the documents helped Salvati, Limone, and the families of the two other men who had died in prison to win a US $101.7 million civil judgment against the government." ..."
"... Durham got the two surviving framed men released from prison. Robert Mueller was knee-deep in this scandal, along with Andrew Weissman and the agent sent to prison, but because Reno gave him very limited authority, Durham was not able to prosecute Mueller, who was not in the FBI at the time. ..."
"... Harvard professor Alan Dershowitz, calling Mueller a "zealot," he reminded Mueller supporters about the former FBI director's role in protecting "notorious mass murderer" Whitey Bulger as an FBI informant. ..."
"... There is also the fact that Rod Rosenstein seems to think well of him. ..."
"... You can be sure there are a lot of people losing sleep knowing Durham is on the case. You might have noticed Rod Rosenstein, the former Deputy Attorney General, is out trashing Jim Comey. ..."
"... Strzok was in the Boston FBI office at the same time. ..."
"... Mueller was the perfect choice for special prosecutor because they have so much dirt on him he'll do whatever they tell him to do. Modus Operandi in DC for many many decades. ..."
May 15, 2019 |

Barr's Investigator John Durham Once Probed Mueller In A Shocking Case

by Tyler Durden Wed, 05/15/2019 - 15:30 0 SHARES Twitter Facebook Reddit Email Print Authored by S.Noble via,

Connecticut U.S. Attorney John Durham was appointed to investigate the origins of the Russia-Trump probe. Apparently, he has been on the job for weeks.

Durham is the perfect investigator for the job by all accounts and he had experience with Robert Mueller in the Whitey Bulger case. He did not side with Mueller and Mueller's agents suffered the consequences of Mueller's, some would say, corrupt leadership.


Back in the late 1990s, there were "allegations that FBI informants James 'Whitey' Bulger and Stephen 'The Rifleman' Flemmi had corrupted their handlers. So, in 1999, Janet Reno appointed John Durham as Special Prosecutor and charged him with investigating FBI corruption in Boston. As it turned out, FBI agents aided mass murderer, Whitey Bulger and hid his crimes. Bulger was a protected informant. Durham sent one agent involved to prison for 10 years.

Then-US Attorney, Robert Mueller is probably the one who should have landed in the pen. He allowed four innocent men to be sent to prison for a murder he knew they didn't commit. He did it to protect Bulger. One of the four men was in Florida at the time of the murder and could not have committed the murder.

When Durham went through the documents. He found that the four men, Enrico Tameleo , Joseph Salvati , Peter J. Limone , and Louis Greco, had actually been framed. Four people who were innocent were kept in jail for years in order to protect the status of Whitey Bulger as an FBI informant.

The Boston Globe wrote:

"[Mike] Albano [former Parole Board Member who was threatened by two F.B.I. agents for considering parole for the men imprisoned for a crime they did not commit] was appalled that, later that same year, Mueller was appointed FBI director, because it was Mueller, first as an assistant US attorney then as the acting U.S. attorney in Boston, who wrote letters to the parole and pardons board throughout the 1980s opposing clemency for the four men framed by FBI lies. Of course, Mueller was also in that position while Whitey Bulger was helping the FBI cart off his criminal competitors even as he buried bodies in shallow graves along the Neponset "

In December 2000, Durham revealed secret FBI documents that convinced a judge to vacate the 1968 murder convictions of "four other FBI informants because they'd been framed by Robert Mueller's FBI.

"In 2007," to help protect Whitey Bulger (that's what all those people were held in jail for) "the documents helped Salvati, Limone, and the families of the two other men who had died in prison to win a US $101.7 million civil judgment against the government."

Durham got the two surviving framed men released from prison. Robert Mueller was knee-deep in this scandal, along with Andrew Weissman and the agent sent to prison, but because Reno gave him very limited authority, Durham was not able to prosecute Mueller, who was not in the FBI at the time.

Mueller kept four innocent people in jail for years to protect the informant status of Whitey Bulger, a mass-murdering Boston mobster who ended up dying in California, and it ended up costing the government $100 million plus in civil judgments.


Harvard professor Alan Dershowitz, calling Mueller a "zealot," he reminded Mueller supporters about the former FBI director's role in protecting "notorious mass murderer" Whitey Bulger as an FBI informant.

"I think Mueller is a zealot," Dershowitz told "The Cats Roundtable" on 970 AM-N.Y. ". . . I don't think he cares whether he hurts Democrats or Republicans, but he's a partisan and zealot.

"He's the guy who kept four innocent people in prison for many years in order to protect the cover of Whitey Bulger as an FBI informer. Those of us in Boston don't have such high regard for Mueller because we remember this story. The government had to pay out tens of millions of dollars because Whitey Bulger, a notorious mass murderer, became a government informer against the mafia . . .

"And that's regarded in Boston of one of the great scandals of modern judicial history . And Mueller was right at the center of it. So, he is not without criticism by people who know him in Boston."


There were other cases in which Mueller behaved scandalously, here and here . Former U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Sydney Powell tells the same story. She calls them creeps on a mission and has a website of the same name detailing the offenses of Mueller and Weissman.

How did Robert Mueller end up as the Special Prosecutor? Thank a Democrat. The Democrats insisted he was a great man of inviolable character. They said he was the impeccable man and investigator.

There is also the fact that Rod Rosenstein seems to think well of him.

You can be sure there are a lot of people losing sleep knowing Durham is on the case. You might have noticed Rod Rosenstein, the former Deputy Attorney General, is out trashing Jim Comey.

For his part, Jim Comey hasn't written anything inspirational or anti-Trump on Twitter for four days. He has been giving a lot of public speeches lately. Maybe he should shut up.

DoctorFix , 7 minutes ago link

Weren't Comey and Mueller involved in other scandal with Comeys brother?

insanelysane , 1 hour ago link

Strzok was in the Boston FBI office at the same time. The entire FBI is crooked. They supposedly couldn't find Bulger for years. Then the case was going to be turned over to the US Marshal Service. And what do you know, someone in Greenland or Iceland called the FBI with a tip that Bulger was in California. And just like that the FBI goes and picks him up with less force than they used to pick up Roger Stone. The FBI is dirty. Every single one of them.

MrBoompi , 1 hour ago link

Mueller was the perfect choice for special prosecutor because they have so much dirt on him he'll do whatever they tell him to do. Modus Operandi in DC for many many decades.

MushroomCloud2020 , 1 hour ago link

John Durham Once Probed Mueller

Yeah, but did he do an investigation afterwards or did he just have a smoke and fall asleep?

Truthistheagenda , 2 hours ago link

The Rats can't abandon ship fast enough so they are starting to eat their own... more popcorn this movie is getting good.

jaxville , 2 hours ago link

What about the frame up of Edgar J Steele ? Another victim of a corrupt FBI investigation and a corrupt jewdiciary.

I used to find Edgar's "nickle rants" entertaining. What happened to him gave me the biggest red pill of my life.

"Whenever you find something foul, when you peel back the layers; more often than not you find the same maggots underneath it all." Please forgive my quote may not be precise as I don't have my copy of Song of the Reich handy. I think you get the point though.

Anonymous IX , 2 hours ago link

Not for me. I simply assume government is corrupt beyond our wildest dreams. Remember the story of the Dutch banker who escaped the Illuminati and his story of laundering proceeds from Iranian oil sales when Iran was, once again, under sanctions in former years? That trucks and trucks pulled up to these German banks loaded with USD. His job was to make sure that money continued its journey...but not in a truck.

But I'm with Team. What the **** did I just read? This is like being in a small town and learning yet another tidbit in a scandelous affair. Soap opera-ville. Like, dude! What's goin' happen next?

misterlee , 2 hours ago link

Mueller appears to have been dirty for some time now. This speaks to the extent of the swamp more than anything else. Mueller is careful enough to not break criminal law so all he'll ever suffer is criticism for loading up his team with Trump haters. None of these people will go down for anything unless Weissman is tagged with withholding exculpatory evidence, again.

Zero Schmeero , 3 hours ago link

If convicted of sedition Mueller and Weissman can serve in the same prison they sent Bulger. Seems they have a lot of friends there.

TGDavis , 3 hours ago link

How do you cost your employer 100 million and still have a job? This is why I don't believe anything. If this true, then our country is really in bad shape. No American would do this.

LOL123 , 3 hours ago link

I tell you the Democrats are a cult not a representative party of ANY PEOPLE except the i(legal) mob.

Truthistheagenda , 2 hours ago link

Unfortunately it is not just Dems, it is the whole damn swamp except a few.

they want everyone divided because divided the people are weak, wake up and smell the Covfefe

lowscorewins , 3 hours ago link

Sadly Comey is not smart enough to shut up...

Sparehead , 3 hours ago link

There were so many "real dirty birds", but I'd add Hilliary, Holder, Lynch, and Clapper to round out the high-profile list. As an ex-President and the first "magic" one I expect Obama to get a pass.

LEEPERMAX , 3 hours ago link


The Herdsman , 3 hours ago link

Hey fellas, gee wiz. Turns out those guys we gave special rights, special power, specials guns, and special equipment too actually hurt people with them. Who'd'a thunk?

atlasRocked , 4 hours ago link

ERROR in the article? "... the United States Penitentiary, Hazelton , near Bruceton Mills , West Virginia . [22] Bulger, who was in a wheelchair, was found dead on October 30, 2018, at the age of 89. He was killed by inmates within hours of his arrival at Hazelton. "

Muddy1 , 4 hours ago link

"As it turned out, FBI agents aided mass murderer, Whitey Bulger and hid his crimes"

Over the past two years, I have heard Sean Hannity bad mouth the upper echelons of the FBI. He consistently goes on to grovel and talk about the thousands of agents in local offices who are hard working agents doing a great job. I always though his *** kissing was to good to be true. Now I read just how corrupt local agents are, willing to send innocent people to jail to protect some dirt bag.

I've come to the conclusion that the FBI is full of dirty agents from top to bottom. Time to abolish the FBI.

The Herdsman , 4 hours ago link

Every government agency is. Thats the nature of it. Power corrupts. You think you can create an agency of human beings, give them special powers, special rights, special guns, special equipment, turn them loose on society and think they are not going to dry **** everybody who gets in their way?

Koba the Dread , 3 hours ago link

The FBI (originally the BI) was first headed by Napoleon Bonaparte's grand nephew, a family not noted for republican sentiments. It was set up as a political police to persecute communists. Fair enough! But as Ward Churchill in his book by the same name calls the FBI, they are Agents of Repression . It could be communists one decade, conservatives the next, libertarians after that.

The FBI's reputation as an investigative body is very poor. Its crime lab has made hideous blunders. Its fingerprint section accused a man in Spain of finding his fingerprints on a bomb until other international fingerprint experts proved that the fingerprints definitely were not those of the man the FBI accused. Local and state police throughout the US universally loathe FBI interference with their cases because all the FBI does is interfere with their investigations and do it only so it (the FBI) can grandstand. It's investigation of the false flag 9-11event was a cover-up, as was its investigation of the false flag Boston Marathon "bombing". Two of the three "suspects" were shot to death by the FBI and the third is in prison for life for something he didn't even do.

shankster , 4 hours ago link

see the film 'Black Mass'

SRV , 4 hours ago link

The Bulger thing is peanuts... Mueller comes from a long line of Deep State criminals going back decades

shankster , 4 hours ago link

Don't forget that Mueller was also the 'clean-up' guy for Bush after 9II.

Joebloinvestor , 5 hours ago link

They are turning on each other. I can't wait till the "five eye" co-conspirators get it in their heads that Brennan or Clapper are going to rat them out.

Imagine That , 5 hours ago link

How much did Whitey Bulger give Mueller to earn protection? Therein lies the most critical issue of all. 'How much' could be how many mafia members the FBI brought down because of Bulger. It could also be how much Mueller benefited in other ways. Payoffs, anyone?

However, there may be another benefit. What did Bulger know about Mueller? To be black-mailable over many years, and to be truly effective, it must be devastating and run both ways--let's call it mutually assured blackmail.

It purports to be fiction, but DC, the Dark City is the inside story of how absolute power corrupts absolutely. It's a horror story and an eye-opener, politics viewed from inside the establishment.


The Bulger thing gets really interesting because Bulger's brother was the President of the Massachusetts Senate during the same time. Billy Bulger was a big time Democrat in Massachusetts, shocking of course. So you have 1 brother running the mob and the other brother, well, running a mob at the State House.

One story, link below, has an honest State Trooper try to search Whitey's bags at Logan Airport. Whitey throws a bag to a lackey and the lackey disappears. Trooper reports the incident and guess what happens. Trooper is reassigned to hell for interfering with the Brothers Bulger and the FBI.

[May 08, 2019] Roger Stone Mueller Can Indict a Ham Sandwich But I'm Not Interested in Being His Lunch

May 08, 2019 |

Roger Stone: Mueller Can Indict a Ham Sandwich But I'm Not Interested in Being His Lunch

Image Credits: Joe Raedle/Getty Images .

Both The Hill and CNN are now reporting that Special Counsel Robert Mueller is interrogating at least eight of my current and former associates and is asking questions about my personal life, my political activities, my pro-Trump activism, my book sales, my personal business and even my family relationships. Wait! I thought this was about Russian Collusion, WikiLeaks and the bogus claim that I had advance notice of the content, source and exact release date of the DNC emails which so rocked the 2016 Presidential race?

That the Special Counsel is now examining the minute details of my personal finances and taxes according to The Hill and CNN proves precisely my point; this is not about Russian Collusion or misdeeds in 2016, this is about fabricating any infraction in order to indict, silence and punish me for my support for Donald Trump.

This comes on the heels of a fake news assault in which the Wall Street Journal's Shelby Holliday took exculpatory e-mail I provided her that fell outside the precisely worded scope of the House Intelligence Committee document request which confirms my claim that I never dealt directly with WikiLeaks or Assange but had a back-channel. My September request that this source find out if WikiLeaks had any information on the murder of Qadaffi is a legitimate journalist inquiry that the WSJ tries to make seem improper in some way.

Adam Schiff's claim that I was obligated to turn this e-mail exchange over to the House Intel Committee and did not is false and if he could take a five-minute break from the television cameras he could read the wording of the Committee document request and would know this. This Shelby Holliday is the epitome of Fake News.

Having come up empty-handed in their attempt to find evidence or proof of Russian Collusion, trafficking in allegedly hacked emails with WikiLeaks or any advance notice of the publication of John Podesta's emails, the Special Counsel is now clearly engaged in an effort to conjure up some other offense perhaps even mischaracterizing independent efforts that I took to successfully elect Donald Trump, at the same time sifting through my financial records, bank accounts and personal and family life.

I am mindful of the Alan Dershowitz claim that the average American inadvertently commits at least three felonies a day and I am facing an ad hoc federal prosecutorial juggernaut, with an unlimited budget and apparently no effective limitations on anything it does nor any subject matter or area of inquiry that it has not been broadly-empowered to aggressively scrutinizing, picking and probing through every molecule of my personal and professional life, deploying federal agents to conduct fine tooth microscopic review of my political and personal activities. Including badgering at least eight of my current or former associates.

I recognized Mr. Mueller could indict a ham sandwich but I'm not interested in being his lunch.

I recognized that this partisan witch hunt is very much driven by this fake news media outlets like MSNBC, CNBC, Huff Po, Slate, Salon, Vice, The Daily Beast and the despicable Raw Story engaged in a constant drum beat of misinformation in a relentless attempt to contradict what Anderson Cooper called "total consistency" in my claims about WikiLeaks and the 2016 election. These people scream for my blood on a daily basis. Now I know how the Christians felt in the Roman Coliseum when the crowd called for them to be fed to the lions.

In addition to badgering my associates about my finances they also seem focused on the most intimate aspects of my personal life, my business and personal relationships. Private detective services have confirmed that my cell phone and text messages are under surveillance and access to my email was obtained through an illegal FISA warrant that the New York Times reported I was subject to on January 20th of 2017. Surveillance without probable cause, hoping an offense can be confected.

The agenda of the Mueller inquisition is clear. It is to silence me as a critic of the partisan nature of their inquiry and the Gestapo tactics that they employ as well as their efforts to bankrupt me and punish me solely for the act of being for Donald Trump. It is also to issue a report that will serve for the basis for an impeachment drive in the increasingly unlikely event that the rabidly Democratic captures control of The House. The President must wake up to the true nature of the Mueller juggernaut which has been aided and abetted by the de facto Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. The President's enemies' enmity towards him is rank and their resolve to remove him should not be underestimated.

Politico has introduced a new potential goal of the Mueller team, which is to threaten to indict me unless I flip and testify against the President who has been my friend and who I have wanted to run for President for nearly thirty years. Although the New York Times has reported that President Trump is "afraid" of me, he has nothing to fear as I am his most loyal and steadfast supporter.

[Apr 27, 2019] The solution to our two-tiered justice system More tiers! caucus99percent

Apr 27, 2019 |

The solution to our two-tiered justice system? More tiers!

span y gjohnsit on Fri, 04/26/2019 - 6:16pm Edward Snowden made an observation about the Mueller Report that virtually everyone else on Earth missed.

As Motherboard reported last week, the Department of Justice says that it isn't positive that Assange helped whistleblower Chelsea Manning crack a password hash in order to obtain cables related to the Iraq War, but that he's being charged with that crime anyway. Snowden juxtaposed his treatment with that of Trump's treatment in Robert Mueller's report.

"Mueller says it didn't actually result in obstruction because the people that Trump ordered to do this simply ignored him," Snowden said. "The DOJ's defense of not charging Trump is look he tried to commit a crime but he failed to actually do this. And at the same time they're charging Julian Assange under precisely the opposite theory. Where they say 'Look, Julian may not have actually cracked a password -- we don't have any evidence that he did, we're not even going to try to prove that he did, we're going to say that the agreement to try is enough."

"So this is a real question of a two-tiered system of justice. Where if you're the president and you try to commit a crime, you can skate," he added. "Why is it that journalists are being held to a higher standard of behavior than the president of the United States?"

Edward Snowden cut through all the crap and got to the heart of the matter, as is usual with him.

Only when it comes to the wealthy and/or powerful do motives matter.

A case can be made that there are already three tiers to our justice system.

The Untouchables
These are powerful people that can simply ignore the law. They don't even have to pretend that they hadn't broken the law.
Examples: torturers ("we tortured some folks"), murderers ("Turns out I'm really good at killing people"), and perjurers (in the name of national security)

The Great and the Good
These are generally wealthy people that have to acknowledge that there is a law, and that law theoretically applies to them...but not really. They often pay token fines for crimes that poor people would get lifetime sentences.
Examples: Too Big To Prosecute bankers, any large corporation

Apparently, robbing a bank is a criminal activity depending which side of the teller's window you are on and whether you are upper management or a $12-an-hour cashier.

The Great Unwashed
Here we have the roughly 90% of the population.
Unlike the two groups above, there are debtor prisons , legalized robbery by cops , murder by cops , and most of all, draconian sentences that would embarrass a third-world dictator.

So what is there to do about this?
Since none of this is by accident, there is nothing "to fix".
The justice system is working exactly as designed - to keep the workers in their place while robbing them.

Therefore, the way to "improve" the justice system is to create even more tiers.
Our justice system should be divided by race (even more than it already is), gender, and by subclass (for instance the middle class vs. the poor).
That way the workers will resent each other even more than now, instead of organizing against their oppressors.

span y Pricknick on Fri, 04/26/2019 - 8:03pm
Rob a bank.

Do hard time.
Own a bank and rob your clients, such as wells fartgo, golden parachute.

span y The Voice In th... on Fri, 04/26/2019 - 8:10pm
What happened to -

guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. If the prosecutor has a reqasonable doubt, how can he/she bring the case before a jury which requires twelve people to not have a reasonable doubt.

And a public admission gives the defense attorney a bulldozer - "Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, the prosecutor has expressed doubt, how can you not do the same?

span y The Liberal Moonbat on Sat, 04/27/2019 - 12:28am
Every American should know the following

@The Voice In the Wilderness

One thing worth learning from Mitch McConnell: If you know what's really on the books, there's all kind of shit you can do!

guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. If the prosecutor has a reqasonable doubt, how can he/she bring the case before a jury which requires twelve people to not have a reasonable doubt.

And a public admission gives the defense attorney a bulldozer - "Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, the prosecutor has expressed doubt, how can you not do the same?

span y leveymg on Fri, 04/26/2019 - 8:52pm
It isn't a justice system. It's merely an unjust system.

There is no distinction between criminals and the law enforcement within such a system of elaborately organized but senseless violence, and all law is merely politics, brute force and cruelty. We have come to the point in America in the early 21 Century where the Nihilists and Social Revolutionaries were under the last Czars.

Revolution finally makes as much sense as social order, and doing nothing seems to be a senseless waste of life, itself. As people of conscience, we have nothing but bad choices available to us. Same with those who rule us.

span y snoopydawg on Fri, 04/26/2019 - 10:03pm
Case in point

Joe posted about how lots of blacks in NYC were arrested for being in a gang. Not that they committed any crimes, but just because they were or might have been in a gang. Another unjustifiable system here in this land of the free is our bail system. Can't post bail? Tuff. You get to spend years in jail until your trial comes up.

span y The Aspie Corner on Fri, 04/26/2019 - 10:26pm
Our system works like this:

There's the 1%, the 9%, and everyone else. Unless you're part of the first 2, you basically don't exist.

[Apr 18, 2019] Moments like these tell us it's less a justice system, and more a class enforcement system.

Apr 18, 2019 |

karlof1 , Apr 17, 2019 3:38:05 PM | link

AOC invokes the Class Card , something many here thought she'd never do:

"Our country has a 'justice' system that criminalizes poverty + disproportionately targets race, yet routinely pardons large-scale crimes of wealth and privilege.

"Moments like these tell us it's less a justice system, and more a class enforcement system ." [My Emphasis]

Look for her and allies to resurrect FDR's mantra from 1944 as they work to enact Medicare For All and Green New Deal: "individual freedom cannot exist without economic security." Indeed, there're numerous slogans from the FDR era that ought to be employed as many still aren't fulfilled.

vk , Apr 17, 2019 3:44:00 PM | link

Half of England is owned by less than 1% of the population
karlof1 , Apr 17, 2019 3:51:57 PM | link
S.O. @14--

That's the Haynes being debunked in the twitter exchange I posted above your comment. Ducks were involved in the initial tale/yarn/fabrication, but they weren't dead.

Tweet reply by b about Zionistan escalating situation now that elections are over:

"That feeling [invasion of Lebanon by Zionistan] isn't unreasonable. All parties in Lebanon rejected U.S. demand to go against Hizbullah. Trump may now well give green light to Netanyahoo and support an Israeli invasion. High possbility of extension into Syria and beyond."

I don't think Nutty is that nutty.

[Apr 13, 2019] Justice under neoliberalism

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Once one realizes 'justice' [under neoliberalism] is a monetized commodity, lawlessness becomes a viable [and justifiable] option. ..."
Apr 13, 2019 |

Daniel Rich , says: April 13, 2019 at 10:38 pm GMT


Once one realizes 'justice' [under neoliberalism] is a monetized commodity, lawlessness becomes a viable [and justifiable] option.

[Apr 08, 2019] America the Barbaric

Notable quotes:
"... While debtors' prisons are officially outlawed, poor workers are routinely held for their debts. A mother in Indiana was detained for three days in February in a squalid jail alongside convicts because of an unpaid ambulance bill, which she had never received in the mail. Such stories are common. ..."
Apr 06, 2019 |

Rapes, murders, beatings, stabbings, mutilations and arson are rampant. Pleas for help, scrawled in blood, stain the walls from prisoners held in solitary confinement. Fifteen suicides have been recorded in the last 15 months.

This is not the description of a torture chamber in el-Sisi's Egypt or Bin Salman's Saudi Arabia. Nor is it about the abuse of detainees at the notorious Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, the prison camp at Guantanamo Bay or a CIA black site.

These are the nightmare conditions in the Alabama state-run prison system, described in a Justice Department report released this week. They constitute a gross violation of the US Constitution's Eighth Amendment ban on cruel and unusual punishment.

More than 2,000 photos of abuse in one Alabama prison given to the media by the Southern Poverty Law Center in advance of the report's release depict the gruesome reality of the conditions detailed in hundreds of interviews with prisoners and their families conducted by federal investigators over more than two years.

While particularly horrific, such conditions are by no means unique. They are repeated in different forms in the prisons of every state, county and city across the United States. More than 2.3 million people are packed like cattle into America's overflowing system of state and federal prisons, local jails and immigration detention camps. Including those on probation or parole, nearly seven million Americans are caught up in what is absurdly called the "criminal justice system."

The US accounts for more than one-quarter of the world's incarcerated population. For every 100,000 residents, there are 698 people in detention. More than 540,000 of those held in jail on any given day have not been convicted of any crime. Many are kept in detention simply because they are too poor pay to pay the median bail of $10,000. Another half a million, one in five inmates, are serving long prison sentences for nonviolent drug convictions.

Researchers estimate that 61,000 prisoners are held in solitary confinement on any given day, a form of incarceration that the UN has declared to be tantamount to torture. At least 4,000 of those held in complete isolation from the outside world suffer from severe mental illness. Confinement to these living coffins is known to drive prisoners to suicide.

While debtors' prisons are officially outlawed, poor workers are routinely held for their debts. A mother in Indiana was detained for three days in February in a squalid jail alongside convicts because of an unpaid ambulance bill, which she had never received in the mail. Such stories are common.

Under the Trump administration, extending the policies developed by Obama, the federal government is waging a war on immigrants, holding thousands of men, women and children in degrading conditions. Some 77,000 people were detained in February for seeking to cross the southern border. Immigrant workers are being hunted down and arrested in their homes and at their work places.

The cruelty of the American government was on full display this week when 280 undocumented workers were detained by federal agents in Allen, Texas. It was the largest such raid in more than a decade.

Then there is the unending wave of police killings, with more than 1,000 people shot, tased or beaten to death every year on the streets of American cities. Criminal charges for police killings are rare and convictions almost unheard of. Cops are given a green light to kill, maim and brutalize with impunity.

With boundless hypocrisy, Democrats and Republicans proclaim their outrage over alleged human rights violations in whatever country the American ruling class is targeting for regime change or invasion. They proclaim one of the most cruel and unequal societies in the world, where the three richest Americans control more wealth than the bottom half of the population, to be a beacon of democracy to the world.

If the conditions that exist in US prisons were exposed in Russia or China, there would be a hue and cry in the press and the halls of Congress for economic sanctions and "humanitarian" military intervention that would resound in the media.

Fifty years ago, a report such as that exposing the conditions in Alabama prisons would have been met, even within sections of the political and media establishment, with shock and demands for action, but today it passes with barely a murmur.

The Democratic Party is silent because it is complicit in the vast retrogression in conditions in US prisons. President Bill Clinton signed the legislation that paved the way for a historic increase in the prison population. The Democrats oversee a prison system in California that was found by the Supreme Court in 2011 to be "cruel and unusual" and in violation of the Constitution.

The upper-middle class, self-obsessed layers in and around the Democratic Party are disinterested. The promoters of the #MeToo campaign in the media and academia have nothing to say about sexual violence in American prisons, nor about the violence inflicted on immigrants fleeing to the United States.

The media has made as little as possible of the report, with no coverage on the major nightly news programs. As with the photos of abuse at Abu Ghraib and the Senate report on CIA torture, there has been an effort to suppress information of what is happening in Alabama. The New York Times and other media outlets have chosen not to publish most of the photos documenting abuse and death.

In the end, this is their state . The conditions of American prisons, and the overall apparatus of violence, is a noxious expression of the reality of American "democracy." The state apparatus will be utilized in the suppression of social and political opposition to the demands of finance capital. It is the real face of American capitalism.

Niles Niemuth

alphonsozorro5 hours ago

"If the conditions that exist in US prisons were exposed in Russia or China, there would be a hue and cry in the press and the halls of Congress for economic sanctions and "humanitarian" military intervention that would resound in the media"

Military intervention by the US against a powerful state like Russia is impossible. Only the Germans were foolhardy enough to invade Russia, and lost. All post-WWII US agressions, under whatever pretext, targeted Third-World countries only, unable to strike back.

denis ross Michelle S3 hours ago
Prisons, whether run by the capitalists or the proletariat, whomever is on top, are essentially a working class institution. There are not too many bureaucrats or members of the ruling class locked away in prisons, anywhere...perhaps unfortunately.
TheCushite2 days ago
Capitalism, anything goes for the wealthy to build greater wealth.
Carolyn Zaremba2 days ago
"The Democratic Party is silent because it is complicit in the vast retrogression in conditions in US prisons. President Bill Clinton signed the legislation that paved the way for a historic increase in the prison population. The Democrats oversee a prison system in California that was found by the Supreme Court in 2011 to be "cruel and unusual" and in violation of the Constitution."

Kamala Harris was a supporter of the horrendous "three strikes" law in California. So much for women in government being "kinder and gentler". Then again, we learned of the perfidy of women in government from Margaret Thatcher and Hillary Clinton.

Ed Bergonzi2 days ago
This article is an important and devastating exposure of a rotten social system. Decades ago we published a series entitled "The Brutal Society" in the pages of the "Bulletin". Earlier still, I believe, we documented the maiming and deaths of workers in the "industrial slaughterhouse". Everything we have documented is not only true, but has intensified in the intervening years, with the additive of the Nazi-like treatment of immigrants and their families. These outrages reveal in all their nakedness the social relations of capitalism. Essence is appearing. Despite the confusion wrought by Democrat's promotion of identity politics, #MeToo and the like, millions of people are re-evaluating previous conceptions. Increasingly, capitalism is becoming a dirty word, and socialism, the hope for the future.
Charles Ed Bergonzi2 days ago
Yes it is devastating. This is a brilliant perspective. I want everyone to read it.
Charlotte Ruse2 days ago
Prisons are an industry which profits from the misery of the indigent and the mentally ill.

"The private contracting of prisoners for work fosters incentives to lock people up. Prisons depend on this income. Corporate stockholders who make money off prisoners' work lobby for longer sentences, in order to expand their workforce. The system feeds itself," the prison industry is "an imitation of Nazi Germany with respect to forced slave labor and concentration camps."

In other words, US prisons are profitable concentration camps warehousing two million Americans sans the gas chambers. And like the Nazis, the victims are carefully selected among the most marginalized by society: minorities, the indigent, the mentally ill, the refugees, the drug addicted, etc...

In addition, statistics cite that 20% of those incarcerated are seriously mentally ill. However, I bet that percentage is considerably greater. Prisons, have morphed into mental asylums for the poor. "In 44 states, a jail or prison holds more mentally ill individuals than the largest remaining state psychiatric hospital; in every county in the United States with both a county jail and a county psychiatric facility, more seriously mentally ill individuals are incarcerated than hospitalized."

In a hyper-predatory society indigence is viewed as a crime. Being POOR renders one judicially defenseless. "If you want to stay out of prison choose rich parents. Boys from the poorest families are 20 times likelier to end up in prison than boys from the richest families."

Only a fascist government would allow CEO's to profit from endless wars and genocide, and permit lucrative concentration camps to warehouse its own citizenry.

Sebouh802 days ago
The ruling class parties and the mainstream media networks that speak on their behalf are silent because they are all accomplice in creating this barbaric justice system that normally targets the poor and working class people. So this is the outcome of a society that has become deeply polarized in every respect.
imaduwa2 days ago
This article by comrade Niles Niemuth on WSWS is a vindication of the fact that the US working class and its international counterpart and youth and students in the US and across the planet need their own media organ based on Trotskysm, the Marxism today. No other media in human world (capitalist or initiated by the pseudo left that commensurate with ISO, DSA in the US and WRP in the UK) would be so lucid in revealing the barbarity of the capitalism/imperialism, in this case depicted by the US prison system. One can logically conclude that in the US one has to find the planet's cruellest prison system with the knodding approval of its judiciary due to the fact that the Material foundation of the society where the three richest men claim a wealth that is eqivalent to the wealth of the bottom half of the population of the country. Such a disparity embeded in the material foundation of the country in fact has to be safeguarded through a horrific anti-human legal system.

Readers of the WSWS, in my view can be proud of Niles Niemuth who contested vice presidency in the last election. Comrade Niemuth you always live upto the expectation of the US and international working class and youth and students in the US and across the planet.

This norm observed by you and all the revolutionaries of the ICFI is fundamental to our endeavor in dismantling capitalism/imperialism and restructuring human society on the socialist foundation.

I know Trump is mad about the rise of socialism in the US and globally. US capitalist/imperialist establisment has to be treated no1 enemy of the international working class and the international youth and students. Down with US capitalism/imperialism. Victory to the revolutionary triumvirate. Thank you comrade Niles Niemuth.

Terry Lawrence2 days ago
"what is absurdly called the "criminal justice system." Actually, it could hardly be more appropriately named.
denis ross Carolyn Zaremba3 hours ago
The USA like Australia has "the best system of Justice money can buy".
лидия2 days ago
In 60th a Soviet children poet Mikhalkov had published a poem about the oppression of civil right movement in USA, calling Alabama "a feral state" for jailing children. Now 50+ years since no much had changed.
rictus2 days ago
I live in Alabama and this is an excellent analysis of conditions in the prison system here. Incarceration and police intervention are the defacto mental health care since mental health services have long been gutted at the same time the state offers millions upon millions in subsidies to lure already wealthy companies such as Toyota and Mercedes Benz. As this article rightly points out, there is little difference between these conditions and those in Russian and Chinese prisons.
Brandon the Top-Hatted Commie2 days ago
Frederick Douglass gave an excellent speech in 1852 called "What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?", where he ruthlessly criticizes the hypocrisy of the U.S. to proclaim its commitment to equality and freedom while simultaneously encouraging the continued enslavement of millions of black people. If Douglass were alive today to compose the speech much of it would be the same, though it would probably be named "What to the Prisoner is the Fourth of July" instead.
Pietro2 days ago
And there is an economic interest in maintaining such bonded labour, withthe incarcerated "earning' somewhere between 9 cents/hour to about 70c per hour, depending on the state. It is a form of slavery, branded as the criminal justice system.
Elliott Vernon Pietroa day ago
There's also plenty of money to be made by price-gouging prisoners when they make phone calls. Not much of the wondrous benefits of free-market competition happening there, when you're literally a captive audience.

[Mar 15, 2019] DOJ ... Department of Obstruction of Justice.

Mar 15, 2019 |

The Justice Department and Hillary Clinton's legal team "negotiated" an agreement that blocked the FBI from accessing emails on Clinton's homebrew server related to the Clinton Foundation, according to a transcript of recently released testimony from last summer by former FBI special agent Peter Strzok.

[Mar 11, 2019] How do US courts value lives. It seems to depend on "who did it".

Mar 11, 2019 |

Zachary Smith , Mar 10, 2019 9:11:43 PM | link

How do US courts value lives. It seems to depend on "who did it". In the case of Syria, the sum is a very large one.

U.S. Court Finds Syria Responsible for Killing American Journalist Marie Colvin

A federal judge in Washington, D.C. has ordered the Syrian government to pay $302 million in damages for the murder of journalist Marie Colvin in a 2012 artillery strike. The decision, issued on Wednesday, marks the first time in the seven-year conflict that a court has declared Syrian forces loyal to the government of President Bashar al-Assad responsible for deliberately attacking civilians.

Then there is the case of Iran's destruction of the Twin Towers on 9/11/2001.

US judge: Iran must pay $6bn to victims of 9/11 attacks

Iran is ordered to pay "$12,500,000 per spouse, $8,500,000 per parent, $8,500,000 per child, and $4,250,000 per sibling" to the families and estates of the deceased, court filings say.

A 4.96 annual interest rate will also be applied to the amount, starting from September 11, 2001 to the date of the judgement.

I'm mentioning this because of a story I saw on a blog operated by the son of America's Most Famous Jewish Orthodox Author. The fellow was gloating about the apartheid Jewish state "...cutting terror salaries from Palestinian Authority taxes..."

The guy's smug satisfaction gave me an idea. What If the US of A chose a number somewhere between the "life value" of Marie Colvin and the values assigned to the 9/11 victims, and subtracted the money from the 'allowance" given to the apartheid Jewish state. Every time they murder a Palestinian, they lose XX million dollars. Naturally the same thing would apply to times Palestinians murder one of their occupiers.

Or is it "anti-semitic" to even compare God's Most Favorite Thieves and Murderers with the subhuman creatures they're trampling underfoot?

[Feb 02, 2019] One Of The Biggest At-Home DNA Testing Companies Is Secretly Sharing Data With The FBI

Feb 01, 2019 |

Just one week ago, we warned that the government -- helped by Congress (which adopted legislation allowing police to collect and test DNA immediately following arrests), President Trump (who signed the Rapid DNA Act into law), the courts (which have ruled that police can routinely take DNA samples from people who are arrested but not yet convicted of a crime), and local police agencies (which are chomping at the bit to acquire this new crime-fighting gadget) -- was embarking on a diabolical campaign to create a nation of suspects predicated on a massive national DNA database.

As it turns out we were right, but we forgot one key spoke of the government's campaign to collect genetic information from as many individuals as possible: "innocent", commercial companies, who not only collect DNA from willing clients, but are also paid for it.

FamilyTreeDNA, one of the pioneers of the growing market for "at home", consumer genetic testing, confirmed a report from BuzzFeed that it has quietly granted the Federal Bureau of Investigation access to its vast trove of nearly 2 million genetic profiles.

... ... ...

Worse, it did so secretly, without obtaining prior permission from its users.

The move is of significant concern to much more than just privacy-minded FamilyTreeDNA customers. As Bloomberg notes, one person sharing genetic information also exposes those to whom they are closely related. That's how police caught the alleged Golden State Killer. And here is a stunning statistics - according to a 2018 study, only 2% of the population needs to have done a DNA test for virtually everyone's genetic information to be represented in that data.

[Jan 31, 2019] Rule of law and money

Notable quotes:
"... Most people don't realize that the more money you have more you can exercise the "rule of law". ..."
Jan 31, 2019 |

Oh , , January 31, 2019 at 12:40 pm

Bushie used the term "rule of law" and fooled a lot of people.

Most people don't realize that the more money you have more you can exercise the "rule of law".

[Jan 27, 2019] Mueller's Desperate Roger Stone Gambit by Larry Johnson

Looks like the color revolution against Trump continues. What is interesting is that while Trump position becomes more and more shaky he does not want to fight. And he suppounded himself with people, which will sell him at the first opportunity. I means first of all this neocon warmonger Pompeo.
Notable quotes:
"... It really does tell a story that exonerates Trump of the Russian collusion narrative but also exposes the desperation of Mueller to create a crime where none exists. ..."
"... Where is President Trump in all this? These are all actions taken by his DOJ and FBI appointees. Does he believe that his responsibility ends with a tweet? Why hasn't he hauled Whitaker, Rosenstein and Wray into his office and demanded equal application of the law with respect to Hillary, Clapper, Brennan and Comey lying to Congress? Why hasn't he declassified all the information around the role of Fusion GPS, Clinton campaign, FBI, DOJ, CIA with respect to interference in the presidential campaign? ..."
"... Is he not POTUS? Or is he just a character in a VR game? ..."
"... I think, for what's it worth, that the whole point to Mueller and all the legal harassment and arrests of people associated, even to a small extent with the Trump campaign, is to scare people away from working with Trump on the 2020 campaign and leave the Donald high and dry. That and create an illusion of criminality around Trump. Again, that's an uninformed opinion; just an opinion derived from what I see. Curious to know if you think there's any truth to it. Thx ..."
"... Eric, it's called "file stuffing " a bureaucratic name for assembling a mountainous pile of allegations - 99.9% of which are either trivial or false, that is too big and convoluted for any team of humans to refute in detail at one sitting. ..."
"... Mueller is following the Department of Injustice practice of throwing multiple charges at people, even though they know many of them won't stick, so as to drive up the costs of discovery. Thus looms the prospect financial ruin for all but the wealthiest of defendants. This induces them to plead guilty to lesser charges in order to preserve their retirement savings and possibly long prison sentences. ..."
"... DoJ career prosecutors are evaluated on their out-of-court settlement rates and this is how they achieve high ones. ..."
"... So much for the de facto right of a fair trial. IIRC, when the press got to stone after the court appearance he stated that he'll take this to trial. He may have second thoughts as the legal bills pile up. ..."
Jan 27, 2019 |

I have had to shut off all of the media. The media/establishment hatred of Trump and their desire to force him from office is palpable and on near continuous display on every cable channel, including Fox. These pundits remind me of the drowning passengers from the Titanic, flailing frantically while immersed in freezing water but going no where but down. They are keen on avoiding facts. Let's be clear what the facts are about Roger Stone.


Roger Stone had an extremely short tenure with the Trump campaign. He served in an undefined position as a "campaign advisor" and either quit or was fired on 8 August 2015. Politico's account of the incident attributed Stone's departure to Trump's comments regarding former Fox star, Megyn Kelly:

Regardless of who resigned or was fired first, the campaign shakeup was the first sign that Trump's election effort was seriously damaged from within after his Thursday night debate performance and his subsequent comments in which he attacked one of the Fox debate moderators, Megyn Kelly.

Stone was never a critical component or the Trump campaign. He was not an insider and he was not a "go to guy" for Trump's inner circle. The indictment smears Stone by an unsupported claim that Stone had regular, continuing contact with unnamed persons affiliated with the Trump campaign even after his August 2015 departure. Having conversations is not illegal. Moreover, Stone was never a go to guy for the campaign.


Roger Stone does have a history with Paul Manafort, who served a brief tenure as Trump's campaign manager. They formed a political consulting firm in 1980-- Black, Manafort, Stone and Kelly --and became known as bare knuckle brawlers in the world of electoral politics. They worked for Reagan and for George H.W. Bush. Worth noting that Manafort's time with the Trump campaign started off in March 2016--seven months after Stone's departure--as an advisor on going after delegates. He was promoted to campaign manager on May 19, 2016 and resigned from the campaign on August 19, 2016 under the cloud of being cozy with Putin :

The Trump campaign provided no reason for Manafort's resignation. But in the days immediately leading up to the announcement, the New York Times reported investigators were looking into $12.7 million in undisclosed cash payments to Manafort from former Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych, and the Associated Press reported he helped a pro-Russian party in Ukraine funnel money to lobbying firms in Washington, D.C.

There is a lot of speculation about who Stone was talking to. Person 1 in the indictment is Jerome Corsi. Person 2 is Randy Credico. None were involved in any substantive way with the Trump campaign. I would not be surprised if it was Manafort (or someone acting at his behest) that reached out to Stone to see if he could get any additional info about Wikileaks plans.


Roger Stone is a bullshitter and grand raconteur. He can tell you things that sound spot on but are not true. I have first hand experience with him on this point. I first met Roger in the spring of 1980. I was teaching in the Washington Semester Program at American University and he spoke to my class. I did not see Roger in person again until March of 2018--we were on the same flight from Fort Lauderdale enroute to Washington. I introduced myself and we got reacquainted. Subsequent to that meeting I watched the documentary on Roger Stone and was amused to see him "credited" (or blamed) for starting the Whitey rumor--i.e., the claim that there was a video tape of Michelle Obama using the phrase Whitey in a speech before a group linked to Louis Farrakhan. Why amused? I started that rumor at the direction of Sidney Blumenthal (I did not believe it was a rumor but I was gamed--but that is a story for another day).

I ran into Roger last August, again at the airport. This time it was Washington Reagan National. I walked up to him and told him that he was being blamed for something I did. I proceeded to tell the story and he laughed when he learned that this smear of Michelle came from the Clinton Campaign. Roger is a connoisseur of dirty tricks.

With this background, I want you to take a fresh look at Mueller's indictment of Stone. It really does tell a story that exonerates Trump of the Russian collusion narrative but also exposes the desperation of Mueller to create a crime where none exists. (BTW, kudos to Robert Willman for his excellent piece at Sic Semper).

Here's the Mueller narrative on Stone :

During the summer of 2016, STONE spoke to senior Trump Campaign officials (NOT FURTHER IDENTIFIED) about WIKILEAKS and information it might have had that would be damaging to the Clinton Campaign. STONE was contacted by senior Trump Campaign officials to inquire about future releases by Organization 1.

By in or around early August 2016, STONE was claiming both publicly and privately to have communicated with WIKILEAKS. By in or around mid-August 2016, WIKILEAKS made a public statement denying direct communication with STONE. Thereafter, STONE said that his communication with WIKILEAKS had occurred through a person STONE described as a "mutual friend," "go-between," and "intermediary." STONE also continued to communicate with members of the Trump Campaign about WIKILEAKS and its intended future releases.

Here is what this really demonstrates. First, Stone was talking out of his ass. He was portraying himself to people in the Trump campaign (probably Manafort) as a guy with inside knowledge. Based on what I know about Stone, I am sure he was playing this angle in hopes of getting back into the good graces of the Trump campaign. Second, if the Trump organization was actively colluding with the Russians and Wikileaks, why were they asking Stone to find out what Wikileaks had and what it intended to do with such material.

This is the most critical revelation, in my view, from this indictment--the Trump campaign did not know what Wikileaks had or what it intended to do. They were reaching out to an outsider--a third party--who claimed to have contacts with Wikileaks. But Stone did not. In typical Roger Stone fashion, his story kept changing. Initially he insisted he was in direct contact with someone there. Not true. He then admitted that he was relying on the word of Randy Credico. That probably was the truth. But Credico's information was second hand. Randy Credico knew the wife of Julian Assange's deceased attorney--Margaret Ratner Kunstler, widow of William Kunstler. She did have contacts at Wikileaks and was in a position to tell Credico that more dirt on Clinton was coming. But Stone was parlaying third hand information to present himself as a guy with inside knowledge. That's not criminal. That is typical of Washington and the world of journalism.

What is being done to Roger Stone is wrong. He was playing politics and playing according to Washington rules. It may not be pretty and may not be ethical. But it is not criminal and certainly does not justify sending out a ninja clad SWAT team to take him into custody. I hope some wealthy benefactors step up and help fund Stone's defense fund. He will win this case. Mueller and his team are the ones who have crossed an ethical and moral line.

PeterVE , 11 hours ago

Thank you for that vital point that this indictment contradicts the Official Story that the Trump campaign was in cahoots with the Russians in regards to the Wikileaks DNC info.

After Thursday's news that Trump had decided to recognize the coup government in Venezuela, I chose to subject myself to the Rachel Maddow Show to see the official reaction of the Resistance™. She spent the entire first section of the show rehashing a story about security clearances from a year ago. Obviously, the MSM is confused whether to be against it, because TRUMP BAD, or to be for it, because ST. OBAMA imposed sanctions on Venezuela.
Mueller relieved them of the need to make those hard decisions by sending a heavily armed swat team on a predawn raid of an extremely dangerous loudmouth old braggart. They could even ignore the news that Elliot Abrams had been dragged back out of obscurity to oversee the rest of the coup in Venezuela. How long before Secord and North are shipping weapons from Israel to the noble freedom fighters of Venezuela?

Stuart Wood , 6 hours ago
RE: Roger Stone and his Pinocchio problems. To f***ing bad. As long as he has been around, if he isn't smart enough to know that he can get his ass in a jam by lying to Congress or the FBI, the dude isn't thinking too straight. This administration seems to have a problem with truth telling, all the way from Trump to the numerous administration/campaign officials indicted or plead guilty to lying to the FBI or Congress. Blaming Mueller for their dishonest utterances is putting the shoe on the wrong foot.
Bill Herschel , 12 hours ago
Is this "story" more important than the prospect of troops in Argentina? I think not.
ex-PFC Chuck -> Bill Herschel , 7 hours ago
Actually it is because it pertains to what increasingly looks like a slo-mo coup in this country.
Jack , 12 hours ago
Mr. Johnson,

Where is President Trump in all this? These are all actions taken by his DOJ and FBI appointees. Does he believe that his responsibility ends with a tweet? Why hasn't he hauled Whitaker, Rosenstein and Wray into his office and demanded equal application of the law with respect to Hillary, Clapper, Brennan and Comey lying to Congress? Why hasn't he declassified all the information around the role of Fusion GPS, Clinton campaign, FBI, DOJ, CIA with respect to interference in the presidential campaign?

Is he not POTUS? Or is he just a character in a VR game?

Eric Newhill's comment is spot on. Why would anyone want to work for Trump's campaign and be ruined financially and face legal jeopardy when all he does is tweet? His actions show weakness and his opponents know it.

Valissa Rauhallinen -> Jack , 11 hours ago
Jack, I'm assuming he is not doing those things because he is completely surrounded by the Deep State who is already going after him one every front. Every time he has tried to cut back on forever war he gets sabotaged by the Borg. The gov't is yuuuuge and Trump and his small crew are peanuts compared to that. It's very difficult to make progress on his agenda given the level of internal opposition he faces and how outnumbered he is.

From what I have learned over the years the POTUS does not have much freedom. Obama talked about this too.

Fred S -> Jack , 12 hours ago
Where is Nancy Pelosi in all this; better yet where is the ACLU? I think you already know the answer.
Jack -> Fred S , 11 hours ago
Neither Nancy Pelosi nor the ACLU run the FBI and DOJ. President Trump does.
Fred S -> Jack , 9 hours ago
So Congress has no oversight responsibility like they say they have and the ACLU is not really concerned about abuses of police powers.
blue peacock -> Fred S , 9 hours ago
Why should they care when the FBI & DOJ are going after their opponent Trump's minions? He is the one that should care that his guys are the ones being being targeted and not his opponents.
Eric Newhill , 13 hours ago

What you say sounds right enough to me - though I kind of have to take it on faith because I've never been anywhere near the world you describe.

However, I think, for what's it worth, that the whole point to Mueller and all the legal harassment and arrests of people associated, even to a small extent with the Trump campaign, is to scare people away from working with Trump on the 2020 campaign and leave the Donald high and dry. That and create an illusion of criminality around Trump. Again, that's an uninformed opinion; just an opinion derived from what I see. Curious to know if you think there's any truth to it. Thx

Walrus -> Eric Newhill , 9 hours ago
Eric, it's called "file stuffing " a bureaucratic name for assembling a mountainous pile of allegations - 99.9% of which are either trivial or false, that is too big and convoluted for any team of humans to refute in detail at one sitting.

This file is then served up to a judge (or the Republican National Convention) with the offered assumption that because the file is so voluminous, the allegations contained must be substantially true.

I would expect to hear Trump labelled as a "troubled President" because, you know, he and his campaign did all these illegal things, so he must be guilty of stuff, so he needs to be impeached and can't stand in 2020, meh or whatever..........

ex-PFC Chuck -> Walrus , 7 hours ago
Mueller is following the Department of Injustice practice of throwing multiple charges at people, even though they know many of them won't stick, so as to drive up the costs of discovery. Thus looms the prospect financial ruin for all but the wealthiest of defendants. This induces them to plead guilty to lesser charges in order to preserve their retirement savings and possibly long prison sentences.

DoJ career prosecutors are evaluated on their out-of-court settlement rates and this is how they achieve high ones.

So much for the de facto right of a fair trial. IIRC, when the press got to stone after the court appearance he stated that he'll take this to trial. He may have second thoughts as the legal bills pile up.

[Jan 19, 2019] Government Shutdown Updates Local Jails Scramble to Pay Bills - Bloomberg

Jan 19, 2019 |

The partial government shutdown has left local jails across the country scrambling to pay their bills because they rely on money they get from U.S. agencies to house federal inmates, and those checks have stopped flowing.

[Dec 27, 2018] Employees at Jewish Claims Center had people pretend to be victims of Nazi persecution so they could collect money German funds over 6000 phony claims

Dec 27, 2018 |

renfro , says: December 26, 2018 at 11:20 pm GMT

@ChuckOrloski They are constantly, constantly stealing.

17 charged in massive Holocaust fraud case -- US news -- Crime /charged-million-holocaust-fraud-case/

Nov 9, 2010 -- 17 charged in $42 million Holocaust fraud case. FBI: Employees at Jewish Claims Center had people pretend to be victims of Nazi persecution so they could collect money German funds over 6000 phony claims

Germany Seeks Compensation for $57M Holocaust Fraud -- The Forward › News › World

Apr 17, 2015 -- Germany is for the first time seeking compensation for the $57 million lost to fraud at the Claims Conference. But the Holocaust agency says it

[Dec 21, 2018] US Senate passes bipartisan criminal justice bill by John Burton

Dec 21, 2018 |

On Wednesday, the United States Senate voted 87-12 in favor of watered-down legislation that will roll back a few of the most draconian provisions of the federal criminal justice system.

The "First Step Act," short for the "Formerly Incarcerated Reenter Society Transformed Safely Transitioning Every Person Act," goes back to the House of Representatives, which passed a slightly stronger version last May by a vote of 360 to 59.

For his own opportunistic reasons, President Donald Trump pushed Senate Republicans to support the legislation, tweeting after the vote, "America is the greatest Country in the world and my job is to fight for ALL citizens, even those who have made mistakes."

When it comes to locking people up, the United States does indeed stand on top of the heap. By large margins, there are more people in state and federal penitentiaries, 2.3 million, and a larger percentage of its population incarcerated than any other nation. The federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) is the largest single prison system, incarcerating some 180,000 inmates, almost 25 percent beyond its designated capacity.

Mass incarceration is not just barbaric and cruel. It adds billions in expenses to government budgets and deprives capitalists of a significant pool of potential workers to keep downward pressure on wages. Efforts to reform the federal system, which can encourage similar reforms on the state level, have been building for years.

In a second tweet, Trump added, "In addition to everything else, billions of dollars will be saved. I look forward to signing this into law!"

Federal courts, which handle crimes such as drug trafficking, bank robbery and a variety of so-called white-collar offenses, are governed by strict sentencing guidelines that compel lengthy sentences. Offenders entitled to maximum "good time" credits are nevertheless required to serve at least 85 percent of their sentences.

The legislation was sponsored by an unusual coalition that included the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the American Conservative Union, the right-wing Koch brothers and the liberal Center for American Progress. All 12 votes against the measure were cast by Senate Republicans.

Trump made a point of marshaling celebrity support, including a much ballyhooed meeting last September with the renowned nobody Kim Kardashian, CNN commentator Van Jones and Trump's son-in-law, Jared Kushner, who lobbied for passage.

The legislation funds job training and other programs for "low-risk" inmates, who can earn time credits that reduce their sentence, and there are new provisions for "prerelease custody" such as "halfway houses" and "home confinement." Certain categories of "violent offenders" and some drug traffickers are excluded, however. The bill removes restrictions on contracting with faith-based contractors, and in that manner contributes to the ongoing repudiation of the First Amendment's prohibition against government sponsorship of religion.

The legislation places limits on shackling pregnant inmates and solitary confinement for children, two provisions that should never have been necessary. Another section directs the Bureau of Prisons to incarcerate inmates in facilities close to their families when feasible.

There are three prospective changes to sentencing laws. First, mandatory minimums for some nonviolent drug offenses are reduced. The "three strikes" penalty is lowered from life in prison to 25 years, a small comfort for affected inmates and their families. Second, federal district judges will have slightly more access to "safety valves" to avoid imposing mandatory minimum sentences. Third, "stacking" firearm possession on a sentence for another crime, like a drug offense, is limited to offenders with prior convictions.

Generally, these provisions are not retroactive and are of no use to people now in custody. A fourth sentencing provision, however, allows inmates sentenced before the 2010 reduction in the disparity between crack and powder cocaine to petition for re-sentencing. Those people have already served eight years under provisions of law recognized as discriminatory.

The changes are, as a whole, relatively minor, but that did not stop Democrats such as Cory Booker, the New Jersey senator, from calling the bill "sweeping," "the biggest breakthrough in criminal justice in a generation," and the like. CNN commentator Van Jones called the Senate vote a "Christmas miracle." All of these forces heaped praise on Trump for his support.

[Dec 14, 2018] The Predatory Lending Machine Crushing Small Businesses Across America by Zachary R. Mider and Zeke Faux

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... They got around lending regulations by calling what they did "merchant cash advances," not loans -- a distinction judges recognize though there's little practical difference. ..."
Nov 20, 2018 |

How an obscure legal document turned New York's court system into a debt-collection machine that's chewing up small businesses across America.

Story by Zachary R. Mider and Zeke Faux Data analysis by David Ingold and Demetrios Pogkas

Look out, the stranger on the phone warned. They're coming for you.

The caller had Janelle Duncan's attention. Perpetually peppy at 53, with sparkly jewelry and a glittery manicure, Duncan was running a struggling Florida real estate agency with her husband, Doug. She began each day in prayer, a vanilla latte in her hand and her Maltese Shih Tzu, Coco, on her lap, asking God for business to pick up.

She'd answered the phone that Friday morning in January hoping it would be a new client looking for a home in the Tampa suburbs.

The man identified himself as a debt counselor. He described a bizarre legal proceeding that he said was targeting Duncan without her knowledge. A lender called ABC had filed a court judgment against her in the state of New York and was planning to seize her possessions. "I'm not sure if they already froze your bank accounts, but they are RIGHT NOW moving to do just that," he'd written in an email earlier that day. He described the lender as "EXTREMLY AGGRESSIVE." Her only hope, the man said, was to pull all her money out of the bank immediately.

His story sounded fishy to the Duncans. They had borrowed $36,762 from a company called ABC Merchant Solutions LLC, but as far as they knew they were paying the money back on schedule. Doug dialed his contact there and was assured all was well. They checked with a lawyer; he was skeptical, too. What kind of legal system would allow all that to happen 1,000 miles away without notice or a hearing? They shrugged off the warning as a scam.

But the caller was who he said he was, and everything he predicted came true. The following Monday, Doug logged in at the office to discover he no longer had access to his bank accounts. A few days on, $52,886.93 disappeared from one of them. The loss set off a chain of events that culminated a month later in financial ruin. Not long after her agency went bankrupt, Janelle collapsed and was rushed to the hospital, vomiting bile.

As the Duncans soon learned, tens of thousands of contractors, florists, and other small-business owners nationwide were being chewed up by the same legal process. Behind it all was a group of financiers who lend money at interest rates higher than those once demanded by Mafia loan sharks. Rather than breaking legs, these lenders have co-opted New York's court system and turned it into a high-speed debt-collection machine. Government officials enable the whole scheme. A few are even getting rich doing it.

Janelle and Doug Duncan

"Somebody just comes in and rips everything out. It's cannibalized our whole life"

The lenders' weapon of choice is an arcane legal document called a confession of judgment. Before borrowers get a loan, they have to sign a statement giving up their right to defend themselves if the lender takes them to court. It's like an arbitration agreement, except the borrower always loses. Armed with a confession, a lender can, without proof, accuse borrowers of not paying and legally seize their assets before they know what's happened. Not surprisingly, some lenders have abused this power. In dozens of interviews and court pleadings, borrowers describe lenders who've forged documents, lied about how much they were owed, or fabricated defaults out of thin air.

"Somebody just comes in and rips everything out," Doug said one evening in August, pulling up a stool at a Starbucks and recounting the events that killed the Duncans' business. After a long day spent selling houses for another company, the name tag pinned to his shirt had flipped upside down like a distress signal. "It's cannibalized our whole life."

Confessions of judgment have been part of English common law since the Middle Ages, intended as a way to enforce debts without the fuss and expense of trial. Concerns about their potential abuse are almost as old. In Charles Dickens's 1837 novel The Pickwick Papers , a landlady who's tricked into signing one ends up in debtors' prison . Some U.S. states outlawed confessions in the middle of the 20th century, and federal regulators banned them for consumer loans in 1985. But New York still allows them for business loans.

For David Glass, they were the solution to a problem: People were stealing his money. Among the hustlers and con men who work the bottom rungs of Wall Street, Glass is a legend. Before he was 30, he'd inspired the stock-scam movie Boiler Room . Later busted by the FBI for insider trading, he avoided prison by recording incriminating tapes of his old colleagues. Even his enemies say Glass, who declined to comment for this story, is one of the sharpest operators they've ever dealt with.

In 2009, while still on probation, Glass and a friend named Isaac Stern started a company called Yellowstone Capital LLC. (ABC, the firm that wiped out the Duncans, is one of more than a dozen corporate names used by Yellowstone's sales force.) Operating out of a red-walled office above an Irish bar in New York's financial district, these salespeople phoned bodegas and pizzerias and pitched their owners on loans. The rates sometimes exceeded 400 percent a year, and daily payments were required, but borrowers were desperate.

... ... ...

In the aftermath of the financial crisis, banks were cutting back on lending just when small businesses most needed cash. Companies such as Yellowstone stepped in. They got around lending regulations by calling what they did "merchant cash advances," not loans -- a distinction judges recognize though there's little practical difference. The same people who'd pushed stock swindles in the 1990s and subprime mortgages a decade later started talking small businesses into taking on costly debt. The profits were huge , and the industry grew. Last year it extended about $15 billion in credit, according to an estimate by investment bank Bryant Park Capital.

Yellowstone would hire anyone who could sell. A nightclub bouncer sat next to ultra-Orthodox Jews fresh out of religious school. The best brokers earned tens of thousands of dollars a month, former employees say; others slept at the office, fought, sold loose cigarettes, and stole from each other. A video posted on YouTube shows Glass firing an employee. "Get the f--- out of my firm," he yells. "Why are you still sitting there, fat ass? Get out of my company!" To keep the troops focused, management would stack a pile of cash on a table and hold a drawing for closers.

Glass's problem was that some borrowers took Yellowstone's money with no intention of paying it back. Lawsuits against deadbeats proved pointless, dragging on for months or years. Then a lawyer who worked for Yellowstone and other cash-advance outfits came up with the idea of requiring borrowers to sign confessions of judgment before receiving their loans. That way, at the first sign of trouble, lenders could start seizing assets, catching borrowers unawares.

In May 2012, Yellowstone became what appears to be the first company in the industry to file a confession in court. Others copied the trick. The innovation didn't just make collections easier; it upended the industry's economics. Now, even if a borrower defaulted, a company stood a chance of making a full recovery. By tacking on extra fees, it might even make more money, and faster, than if the borrower had never missed a payment. In some cases, the collections process became a profit engine.

Confessions aren't enforceable in Florida, where the Duncans signed theirs. But New York's courts are especially friendly to confessions and will accept them from anywhere, so lenders require customers to sign documents allowing them to file there. That's turned the state into the industry's collections department. Cash-advance companies have secured more than 25,000 judgments in New York since 2012, mostly in the past two years, according to data on more than 350 lenders compiled by Bloomberg Businessweek . Those judgments are worth an estimated $1.5 billion. The biggest filer by far, with a quarter of the cases: Yellowstone Capital.

The Duncans' ordeal began in November 2017 with an unsolicited fax from a broker promising term loans of as much as $1 million at a cheap rate. The couple had owned their agency, a Re/Max franchise, for three years and now had 50 employees, but they still weren't turning a profit. A planned entry into the mortgage business was proving more expensive than expected. Doing some quick math, Doug figured he could borrow $800,000 to fund the expansion, pay off some debt, and come out with a lower monthly payment. The spam fax felt like a gift from God.

On the phone, the broker said that to qualify for a big loan, Doug would first have to accept a smaller amount and make a few payments as a tryout. He sent over the paperwork for a cash advance, not a term loan -- and included confessions for both Doug and Janelle to sign. Without talking to a lawyer, they did. Why not? Doug thought. They intended to pay the money back on time.

The advance turned out to be for $36,762, repaid in $800 daily debits from their bank account starting the day after they got the money. This would continue for about three months, until they'd repaid $59,960, amounting to an annualized interest rate of more than 350 percent. A small price to pay, Doug figured -- soon he'd have all the money he needed in cheaper, longer-term debt. But when he followed up the next month to inquire about the status of the bigger loan, he got no response. The trouble started soon after.

A few hours after learning that their bank accounts had been frozen, the Duncans met with a local attorney, Jeffrey Dowd, in a law office squeezed between a nail salon and a transmission shop. Their bank, SunTrust, refused to tell them who was behind the freeze. It wasn't clear why Yellowstone would target them. Their contact there was still pleading ignorance; the lender had collected its $800 payment as recently as the previous business day. Janelle was on the verge of tears.

A broad-shouldered man with a white goatee, Dowd handles everything from wills to lawsuits for small-business owners in the Tampa suburbs. After assuring the Duncans he'd get to the bottom of it, he logged on to his computer. He soon found a legal website showing that Yellowstone had won a judgment against the Duncans a few hours after Janelle received the warning phone call. The lender had gone to a court in the village of Goshen, 60 miles north of New York City.

"I hereby confess judgment," read the documents Doug and Janelle had signed. Attached was a statement signed by the same person at Yellowstone who'd assured Doug everything was fine. It said the Duncans had stopped making payments.

That wasn't true. The Duncans' bank records show that Yellowstone had continued to get its daily $800 even after going to court. The company's sworn statement also inflated the size of the couple's debt. But by the time Dowd found the case, it was already over. A clerk had approved the judgment less than a day after Yellowstone's lawyer asked for it. No proof was demanded, no judge was involved, and the Duncans didn't have a chance to present their side in court.

Beau Phillips, a Yellowstone spokesman, said in an email to Businessweek that the company was within its rights, because the Duncans had blocked one payment and never made up for it. The Duncans respond that if a block had taken place, it must have been a computer error. Why stop paying and then resume the next day?

The court papers revealed the name of Yellowstone's lawyer, and on a whim, Dowd searched for her other cases and found more than 1,500 results. The Duncans' predicament was no aberration. "It was like a rabbit hole," Dowd says. He dove in, clicking on case after case after case.

The Long Reach of a Rubber Stamp In one month, a single clerk's office in Orange County, New York, issued 176 judgments against small businesses in 38 states and Puerto Rico

... ... ...

Note: Judgments issued based on merchant cash-advance filings in Orange County in July 2018 Source: Bloomberg News analysis of New York State Unified Court System documents

Goshen, N.Y., is a bucolic stop on the harness-racing circuit, just west of the Hudson River. Not far from the track, in the Orange County Clerk's office, women with ID lanyards around their necks sit behind Plexiglas windows, processing pistol permits and recording deeds. One clerk prints out proposed judgments sent electronically by cash-advance companies and makes them official with three rubber stamps.

Orange is one of a handful of counties in upstate New York that together handle an outsize share of the nation's cash-advance collections. Industry lawyers pick offices known to sign judgments quickly; there's no need for the borrower or lender to have a connection to the area. In even smaller Ontario County, cash-advance filings make up about three-quarters of the civil caseload. No matter how abusive the confessions might be, clerks have no choice but to continue processing them, says Kelly Eskew, a deputy clerk in Orange County.

To obtain a judgment, a lawyer for a cash-advance company must send in the confession along with a sworn affidavit explaining the default and how much is still owed. The clerk accepts the statement as fact and enters a judgment without additional review. Once signed, this judgment is almost impossible to overturn. Borrowers rarely try. Few lawyers will take on a client whose money is already gone, and getting a ruling can take months -- too long to save a desperate business. It's a trap with no escape.

Clicking around a database of New York state court records, Dowd did find some cases in which cash-advance borrowers had sought to overturn judgments. They'd almost always failed. New York judges took the view that debtors waived their rights when they signed the papers. Dowd concluded it would probably cost the Duncans $5,000 to retain a lawyer to travel to Orange County. He advised them not to bother.

It's possible that if the Duncans had tried to overturn the judgment, they would have discovered that the confessions they'd signed were later altered. The signed originals contain an apparent drafting error, failing to identify the Duncans' company as subject to the judgment, a flaw that might have prevented Yellowstone from seizing their money. In the version filed in court , someone had replaced the first two pages of each confession with the mistake corrected. Asked by Businessweek about the discrepancy, Phillips didn't provide an explanation.

Altered Documents The confession of judgment signed by the Duncans ( left top ) and the one filed by Yellowstone in court
Image of the confession of judgment signed by the Duncans.
Image of the confession of judgment filed by Yellowstone in court.

Borrowers have accused Yellowstone of forgery before. Just in the past year, a Georgia contractor presented evidence in court that a confession used against him was a complete fabrication, and a Maryland trucker complained to Yellowstone that a key term in his confession had been changed after the fact, as had happened with the Duncans. The company backed off from those borrowers but faced no further consequences. Phillips declined to comment on the accusations.

While Dowd didn't challenge the ruling against the Duncans in court, he did think he could get SunTrust to help them. He told the bank that one of the couple's accounts held funds that didn't belong to them because it was used to collect rent on behalf of landlords. Dowd says a banker at the local branch wanted to help but was overruled by higher-ups. The account remained frozen. A spokesman for SunTrust declined to comment.

When Dowd finally reached Yellowstone's lawyer, she referred him to a marshal who she said was handling the case. Dowd was confused. Why would a U.S. marshal be involved? His clients weren't fugitives. He called the phone number, and somebody with a Russian accent answered.

The person on the phone wasn't a federal official. Dowd had reached the Brooklyn office of Vadim Barbarovich, who holds the title of New York City marshal. He'd stumbled onto an arcane feature of the city's government that's become another powerful tool for cash-advance companies.

New York's 35 marshals are government officers, appointed by the mayor, who collect private debts. They evict tenants and tow cars, city badges dangling from their necks. When they recover money, they get a fee of 5 percent. The office dates to Dutch colonial days, formed by a decree of Peter Stuyvesant's council . Fees for the biggest jobs were initially set at a dozen stivers, less than one-tenth the price of a beaver pelt.

Barbarovich's office is in the immigrant enclave of Sheepshead Bay. Before he was appointed in 2013, he'd tracked inventory at a Brooklyn hospital and volunteered as a Russian translator. He's now the go-to marshal for the cash-advance business and has gotten rich in the process. Last year, city records show, he cleared $1.7 million after expenses.

As soon as Yellowstone had obtained its judgment against the Duncans, it had sent a copy to Barbarovich, who issued legal orders demanding money from Atlanta-based SunTrust and another bank in Alabama where the couple kept their personal funds. By law, New York marshals' authority is limited to the city's five boroughs, but a loophole vastly extends their reach: They're allowed to demand out-of-state funds as long as the bank has an office in the city, as SunTrust does. A few big banks refuse to comply with the orders, but most just hand over their customers' money.

SunTrust proved accommodating. Three days after freezing the Duncans' accounts, it took $52,886.93 and mailed a check to Barbarovich, enough to satisfy the judgment plus the 5 percent marshal's fee. Almost all of it was rent money the Duncans were holding for landlords, not their own funds. Barbarovich didn't respond to questions about the couple's case but said in an email that he follows the rules when issuing a demand for money. Phillips, the Yellowstone spokesman, said no one told the company that the money belonged to third parties until seven weeks after it was seized. Even then, Yellowstone refused to return it.

The Duncans scrambled to make up the shortfall. Doug got another, larger cash advance from a different company to keep afloat. The daily payments on that loan were too much for them to handle, though, and they were soon short of cash again. Sensing trouble, employees fled.

One evening, Janelle thought she was having a heart attack. Her pulse raced, her limbs went numb, and she grew nauseous. An ambulance rushed her to the hospital. Her heart was fine. Her insurance claim was denied.

Unlike the Duncans, most of the dozens of borrowers interviewed by Businessweek really did fall behind on their debt payments. Their experiences were no less wrenching. They spoke of divorce, of lost friendships, of unpaid medical bills.

"You can't defend yourself," says Richard Schilg, the owner of a human resources company in Ohio who borrowed hundreds of thousands of dollars with at least six advances. "As long as you still have a business, as long you have a personal checking account, they're going to hound you. Your life is ruined by their contract." Schilg says he always tried to honor his debts. But his access to money has been so restricted by cash-advance judgments that he's had to sell furniture to buy food.

He's one of many borrowers who've received nasty threats from debt collectors. "I will make this my personal business to f--- you," a Yellowstone executive named Steve Davis told Schilg on a voicemail heard by Businessweek . Davis texted another: "I will watch you crash and burn." Asked about the messages, Davis says, "People defraud us. When that happens we have to do what's best for us."

Jerry Bush, who ran a plumbing business with his father in Roanoke, Va., signed confessions for at least six cash advances from companies including Yellowstone, taking one loan after another as his payments mounted to $18,000 a day. In January, Davis called him while he was accompanying his wife to a chemotherapy appointment and threatened him with the confession in a dispute over payment terms. Davis denies menacing Bush, but according to Bush's account of their conversation, Davis said he would pursue Bush until his death and take all of his money, leaving nothing to pay for his wife's treatment. Bush also says Davis then offered to send flowers to Bush's wife.

Jerry Bush

"I wake up every morning afraid what else they will take. And every morning I throw up blood"

In August, Bush closed his business, laid off his 20 employees, and stopped making payments on his loans. Yellowstone never filed its signed confession in court, but other lenders went after him over theirs. One sunny day that month, he walked to a wooded area near his home, swallowed a bottle of an oxycodone painkiller, and began streaming video to Facebook. To anyone who might have been watching, he explained that he'd taken out cash advances in a failed attempt to save his business. Now the lenders had seized his accounts, Bush said, his voice wavering. One had even grabbed his father's retirement money.

"I signed 'em, I take the blame for it," he said. "This will be my last video. I am taking this on me." He asked his friends to take care of his family, then sobbed as he told his wife and teenage son he loved them.

Someone who saw the video alerted the police. They found Bush unconscious in the woods a few hours later -- he credits them with saving his life. But the pressure from his confessions of judgment hasn't relented. "I wake up every morning afraid what else they will take," he says. "And every morning I throw up blood."

Bush's contracts with Yellowstone show that the company advanced him a total of about $250,000 and that he paid them back more than $600,000. Davis, who parted ways with Yellowstone in August, says he didn't mistreat Bush or other borrowers and always followed the company's protocols. "You know why people put the blame on me is because I'm successful," he says. "It's just haters."

As for the Duncans, each morning at their house still begins with a prayer and a Bible verse. Their retirement savings evaporated with their agency, but they've been able to keep their house. They continue to believe God has a plan for every one of his children, but they've learned to trust some of those children less. "If we don't have peace from God, and we live in outrage, it destroys us," Janelle says. "So I'm choosing to have hope to start again, and we're relying on the Lord to replace what the enemy has stolen and turn it around for good."

By seizing their bank deposits, Yellowstone had managed to collect its money ahead of schedule and tack on $9,990 in extra legal fees, payable to a law firm in which it owns a stake. In about three months, the company and its affiliates almost doubled their money. At that rate of return, one dollar could be turned into 10 in less than a year.

Everyone else involved in the collection process got a slice, too. SunTrust got a $100 processing fee. Barbarovich's office got approximately $2,700, with about $120 of that passed along to the city. The Orange County Clerk's office got $41 for its rubber stamps. The New York state court system got $184.

To date, no state or federal regulator has tried to police the merchant-cash-advance industry. Its lawyers designed it to avoid scrutiny, sidestepping usury laws and state licensing requirements by keeping the word "loan" out of paperwork and describing the deals as cash advances against future revenue. And because the customers are technically businesses, not individuals, consumer protection laws don't apply, either.

With regulators sidelined and lawmakers oblivious, Yellowstone and its peers keep growing. After Glass stepped back a couple of years ago from day-to-day operations -- his criminal record was making it harder to find investors -- Wall Street investment bankers arranged a $120 million line of credit to finance more advances. In 2016 the company moved from its grimy downtown Manhattan offices to a shiny building in Jersey City, pocketing $3 million in state tax incentives . On Instagram, a top salesman shows off flights on private jets, a diamond-encrusted watch, and a Lamborghini. Yellowstone advanced $553 million last year, its highest total ever.

A stack of cash about to be raffled off to a lucky Yellowstone employee. SOURCE: FACEBOOK

In April, on the same day Janelle Duncan was selling the last of her office furniture, Yellowstone executives marked the company's ninth anniversary with a luncheon in Jersey City. In a celebratory email marking the occasion, Stern, the co-founder, wrote, "I am continually blown away at the success and achievements we continue to have."

[Dec 13, 2018] Felons for President Trump - Prison Reform and Criminal Justic Reform - Prison Reform Movement

Dec 13, 2018 |

We Proudy Support A Long Overdue Military Parade Prison Reform

Central to the arguments to promote prison reforms is a human rights argument - the premise on which many UN standards and norms have been developed.

Criminal Justice Reform

Criminal justice reform may wind up being the most significant conservative policy change in Washington this year.

Prison Reform Movement

How the Reform Movement Changed America - Created new mental institutions called asylums. - More mentally ill admitted. - Increase in funding for asylums. - Reduced cruel treatment in asylums. - Improved conditions for poor mentally ill.

Prison Litigation Reform Act

(don't support)The Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA) makes it harder for prisoners to file lawsuits in federal court.

Prison And Asylum Reform

Prison reform has had a long history in the United States, beginning with the construction of the nation's first prisons. From the time of the earliest prisons in the United States, reformers have struggled with the problem of how to punish criminals while also preserving their humanity.

Criminal Justice Reform Organizations

Although many people believe that representing clients and fighting criminal justice falls on the public defenders office, nonprofit organizations play a vital role.

What Is Prison Reform

Prison reform is the attempt to improve conditions inside prisons, establish a more effective penal system, or implement alternatives to incarceration.

Prison Reform Definition

The reforms are targeted to address the core behavioral issues that result in criminality, with the goal of reducing the likelihood that inmates re-offend either while incarcerated or after their release.

Criminal Justice Reform Bill

The House Judiciary Committee is working on a bipartisan basis on several bills to improve the criminal justice system.

Prison Reform 2017

THE URGENCY of criminal-justice reform in 2017 has become a rare matter of bipartisan consensus in Washington.

Prison Reform 2018

Overcrowding, medical inadequacies, sexual assault, solitary confinement and other threats to the health and safety of both prisoners and guards proliferate in U.S. prisons and jails in 2018.

Criminal Justice System Reform

Some pilots have been successfully launched in several states. Others will be rolled out at two prisons in early 2017.

What Is Criminal Justice Reform

The United States has less than 5 percent of the world's population but almost 25 percent of the total prison population.

Prison Reform Organizations

In 1980, there were about 500,000 people in prison in the U.S. Today there are 2.3 million, and according to the 2008 U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics there's a total of over 7 million people on parole or probation or locked up.

Prison Reform In America

Just as conservatives once led the way toward the tougher sentencing rules and other policies that increased imprisonment rates, they should lead the way in sensibly shrinking the prison population.

Criminal Justice Reform 2017

Reduce the number of absurdly long prison sentences in America.

Criminal Justice Reform 2018

Central to the arguments to promote prison reforms is a human rights argument - the premise on which many UN standards and norms have been developed.

Criminal Justice Reform Act

The Council passed legislation in May 2016 to create more proportional penalties for certain low‑level, non‑violent offense.s

Criminal Justice Reform Definition

Criminal justice reform in the United States is a type of reform aimed at fixing perceived errors in the criminal justice system.

Prison And Mental Health Reform

Asylum and Prison reforms, still topics of importance today, have changed drastically from the era of Dorothea Dix's reforms.

Prison Reform Articles

Research has considered the quality of health care provided in USA's prisons, and has analyzed the impact of correctional education on employment.

US Prison Reform

The West Wing push for prison reform is at odds with Jeff Sessions's jail-happy Justice Department.

[Dec 09, 2018] Unintended consequences #MeToo movement causing 'gender segregation' on Wall Street

Female psychopath are especially dangerous as "reverse sexual predators". Assumption that all women are honest in their accusations is extremely naive. Revenge and other inferior motives are pretty common, especially in academic setting.
"A sense of walking on eggshells" is a sure sign of unhealthy psychopath dominated environment.
Notable quotes:
"... Two female reporters for Bloomberg interviewed 30 Wall Street executives and found that while it's true that women might be afraid to speak up for fear of losing their careers, men are also so afraid of being falsely accused that they won't even have dinner, or even one-to-one business meetings with a female colleague. They worry that a simple comment or gesture could be misinterpreted. "It's creating a sense of walking on eggshells," one Morgan Stanley executive said. ..."
"... All these extreme strategies being adopted by men to avoid falling victim to an unjust #MeToo scandal are creating a kind of "gender segregation" on Wall Street, the reporters say. ..."
"... "unknown risk," ..."
"... "If men avoid working or traveling with women alone, or stop mentoring women for fear of being accused of sexual harassment, those men are going to back out of a sexual harassment complaint and right into a sex discrimination complaint," ..."
"... "Just try not to be an asshole," ..."
"... "It's really not that hard." ..."
Dec 09, 2018 |

The #MeToo movement was supposed to make life easier for women in the workplace. It was all about respect and making real abusers pay a price for their behavior. But is it possible to have too much of a good thing?

One of the aims of the movement was to force a change in the conduct of men who said and did sexually inappropriate things in the workplace -- a concept which few people could quibble with. A year on from its beginnings, however, it seems the movement has morphed into something else entirely -- and ironically, it's hurting both men and women.

The 'Pence Effect' and 'gender segregation'

The #MeToo movement has taken down men across a wide spectrum of industries -- but so far, Wall Street has avoided a huge public scandal -- despite its reputation for being, well, a fairly sexist and male-oriented environment. So why has it escaped the #MeToo spotlight?

Two female reporters for Bloomberg interviewed 30 Wall Street executives and found that while it's true that women might be afraid to speak up for fear of losing their careers, men are also so afraid of being falsely accused that they won't even have dinner, or even one-to-one business meetings with a female colleague. They worry that a simple comment or gesture could be misinterpreted. "It's creating a sense of walking on eggshells," one Morgan Stanley executive said.

Bloomberg dubbed the phenomenon the 'Pence Effect' after the US vice president who previously admitted that he would never dine alone with any woman other than his wife. British actor Taron Egerton recently also said he now avoided being alone with women for fear of finding himself in #MeToo's crosshairs.

I remember when a woman I was friendly/kind with perceived me as someone who wanted "more." She wrote me a message about how she was uncomfortable. I'm gay.

-- Andy C. Ngo (@MrAndyNgo) December 4, 2018

All these extreme strategies being adopted by men to avoid falling victim to an unjust #MeToo scandal are creating a kind of "gender segregation" on Wall Street, the reporters say.

Hurting women's progress?

The most ironic outcome of a movement that was supposed to be about women's empowerment is that now, even hiring a woman on Wall Street has become an "unknown risk," according to one wealth advisor, who said there is always a concern that a woman might take something said to her in the wrong way.

With men occupying the most senior positions on Wall Street, women need male mentors who can teach them the ropes and help them advance their careers, but what happens when men are afraid to play that role with their younger female colleagues? The unintended consequence of the #MeToo movement on Wall Street could be the stifling of women's progress and a sanitization of the workplace to the point of not even being able to have a private meeting with the door closed.

Another irony is that while men may think they are avoiding one type of scandal, could find themselves facing another: Discrimination complaints.

"A Wall Street rule for the #MeToo era: Avoid women at all cost." "Secular sharia" has arrived, as I predicted here:

-- Niall Ferguson (@nfergus) December 3, 2018

"If men avoid working or traveling with women alone, or stop mentoring women for fear of being accused of sexual harassment, those men are going to back out of a sexual harassment complaint and right into a sex discrimination complaint," Stephen Zweig, an employment attorney with FordHarrison told Bloomberg.

Not all men are responding to the #MeToo movement by fearfully cutting themselves off from women, however. "Just try not to be an asshole," one said, while another added: "It's really not that hard."

It might not be that simple, however. It seems there is no escape from the grip of the #MeToo movement. One of the movements most recent victims of the viral hashtag movement is not a man, but a song -- the time-honored classic 'Baby It's Cold Outside' -- which is being banished from American radio stations because it has a "rapey" vibe.

Think your friends would be interested? Share this story!

[Nov 24, 2018] Fairly Recently Must- and Should-Reads, and Writings... (November 20, 2018)

Notable quotes:
"... Review of Dan Davies: Lying for Money ..."
"... Lying For Money ..."
Nov 24, 2018 |

Dan Davies on financial fraud is certainly the most entertaining book on Economics I have read this year. Highly recommend itcold Chris Dillow : Review of Dan Davies: Lying for Money : "Squalid crude affairs committed mostly by inadequates. This is a message of Dan Davies' history of fraud, Lying For Money .... Most frauds fall into a few simple types.... Setting up a fake company... pyramid schemes... control frauds, whereby someone abuses a position of trust... plain counterfeiters. My favourite was Alves dos Reis, who persuaded the printers of legitimate Portuguese banknotes to print even more of them.... All this is done with the wit and clarity of exposition for which we have long admired Dan. His footnotes are an especial delight, reminding me of William Donaldson. Dan has also a theory of fraud. 'The optimal level of fraud is unlikely to be zero' he says. If we were to take so many precautions to stop it, we would also strangle legitimate economic activity...

[Nov 19, 2018] Is Israel turning a blind eye as Israeli scammers swindle victims in France, US, elsewhere by Alison Weir

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... So if the US government is secretly releasing Federal prisoners, and if that is the case then American justice is on par with the Mexican penal system, where such occurrences are routine. ..."
Nov 19, 2018 |

The Israelis were extradited to the U.S., where the prosecutor described them as "a predatory group that targeted elderly people in the U.S., conning them into believing they were lottery winners. Preying on their victims' dreams of financial comfort, [they] bilked them out of substantial portions of their life savings." According to the U.S. Attorney's office :

"The defendants operated multiple boiler rooms that used the names of various sham law firms purportedly located in New York, including law firms named 'Abrahams Kline,' 'Bernstein Schwartz,' 'Steiner, Van Allen, and Colt,' 'Bloomberg and Associates," and 'Meyer Stevens.'

The defendants further used various aliases and call forwarding telephone numbers to mask the fact that the defendants were located in Israel. The defendants also possessed bank accounts in Israel, Cyprus, and Uganda, to which illegal proceeds were wired."

The ringleaders, Avi Ayache and Yaron Bar, were eventually convicted, and the U.S. prosecutor announced that they would "spend a substantial portion of their lives in prison." Ayache was sentenced in 2014 to 13 years in prison and Bar to 12. Yet, prison records indicate the two were released the next year. Other members of the ring also appear to have been released after extraordinarily little time. If these men did serve only a tiny portion of their U.S. sentences, as public records and phone calls and emails to the Bureau of Prisons indicate, this may be due to the fact that Israelis are allowed to be imprisoned in Israel instead of in the U.S. Their sentences then are determined by Israel and, as we will see below, are often far shorter than they would be in the U.S. Gery Shalon – hundreds of millions of dollars

In 2015 Gery Shalon and two other Israelis were charged with utilizing hacked data for 100 million people to spam them with "pump and dump" penny stocks, netting hundreds of millions of dollars.

The money was then laundered through an illegal bitcoin exchange allegedly owned by Shalon (more on bitcoin below). Shalon was considered the ringleader of what U.S. prosecutors called a " sprawling criminal enterprise. " He faced decades behind bars.

However, he was instead given a plea deal in which he escaped any prison sentence whatsoever. Worth $2 billion, Shalon was to pay a $403 million fine.

republic , says: November 19, 2018 at 6:05 pm GMT

...The ringleaders, Avi Ayache and Yaron Bar, were eventually convicted, and the U.S. prosecutor announced that they would "spend a substantial portion of their lives in prison." Ayache was sentenced in 2014 to 13 years in prison and Bar to 12. Yet, prison records indicate the two were released the next year. Other members of the ring also appear to have been released after extraordinarily little time.

So if the US government is secretly releasing Federal prisoners, and if that is the case then American justice is on par with the Mexican penal system, where such occurrences are routine.

Can anyone here verify if those two are in prison in Israel or free?

[Nov 12, 2018] The competency to stand trial (CST

Nov 12, 2018 |

nelson21 | March 8, 2013 7:52 PM | Reply The competency to stand trial (CST) and insanity go together like peanut butter and jelly, these two go hand and hand. The CST is simply put as the ability to participate in criminal proceedings adequately and be able to aid in one's own defense (pg. 164). Chapter 8 summarizes it perfectly for us so I do not know why I have to do it for us all again, but I will anyway.

While on trial and sitting in the very court room that can determine you fate of where you may end up, full participation is pretty much the key thing to have. Without having full attention and awareness of what is happening around you or what is going on in the court room can really kill your mojo, but when you have full attention and awareness it gives you somewhat the upper hand on the situation and could improve the likelihood of what your verdict will turn out to be like.

Would it be right to put someone in prison if they were mentally challenged? When reading chapter 8 we can see that with the proper examination of the defendant that it is not right to put them through this with them being incompetent. Like stated on page 165 The Dusky Standard has been put into place after the case Dusky v. United States, Dusky was a mentally challenged man who was at the time of the incident incompetent. Through the case it was announced that he had suffered from having schizophrenia, which this can easily put someone in the area of not being able to be put in trial. At the end of trial the court ruled that he was indeed able to stand trial and was sentenced to a prison sentence of 45 years. With all of this being said and reading further on in the chapter CST is put at the TIME OF TRIAL and not at the time of the criminal act; which in the case of Milton Dusky he was competent to stand at trial just not at the time of the crime.

Along with being incompetent and competent, the lovely Supreme Court put together the thought of a presumption of CST, where the defendant is pretty much stable and competent until he or she is found to be the complete opposite. They have begun to use the preponderance of the evidence standard; this is used when trying to figure out CST, this goes along with the presumption of CST where they have to prove that he or she is incompetent of standing trial.

This also leads in with the adolescent stage in life, should children be put in the category of being incompetent of standing trial and when should they be tried as an adult? As it states in our book that when children are in the adolescent stage in life they are lacking the ability to really understand the criminal justice system and may not know what is going on. Should this be considered CST, I have no idea.

Now chapter 9 ties in with all of this, the insanity defense. The insanity defense is a bunch of crock I think, everyone thinks that they can pull this card out when they have done a terrible thing like take someone else's life and they think they can get a lesser sentence because of it. This is not how things should be. Reading chapter 9 it brings a lot of questions to my mind, clinical psychologists look at the little things and study the mental illnesses that can be looked at as insane. Like the Dusky case we read before he was incompetent at the TIME OF THE CRIME not at the TIME OF THE CASE so this is so called "insanity." Insanity is the state of mind at the time of the crime just like stated in the last sentence. Chapter 9 just goes on about different cases and defenses that have been going on. It also talks about different evaluations and testing that happens to figure things out with a person.

Everything that I have read is surprising to me, there was never a dull moment reading these chapters. It gave me a lot of insight to what really goes on when judges have to look at the defendant and figure out if they should be put to a prison sentence or just let go with a large warning. My view of the insanity plea and whether or not a person is able to withstand trial or not had not changed. I still think that it all fits well and should be in place. Nothing should be changed.

KEY TERMS: Competency to stand trial, presumption of CST, preponderance of the evidence standard, clinical psychology, insanity Author Profile Page crim2010 | March 9, 2013 2:56 PM | Reply

I find the topics for this week to be very interesting. We have just started discussing competency, insanity, and trials in another one of my classes as well. I love that these two classes line up and help cover more of this particular area of law and psychology. It is great to have the chance to apply what I am learning here to my Criminal Justice Systems class and vise versa.

The two topics for this week get confused quite often. I will admit that I used them interchangeably before we got to this point of the semester. Competency defines someone's state of mind at the time of the trial. To be competent to stand trial, one must have the ability to participate in his or her trial, understand the proceedings, and aid in his or her own defense. This, however, does not have anything to do with the person's willingness to do any of these things. It is important to consider the competency of someone on trial to be fair to the defendant and uphold a positive image for the criminal justice system. Convicting someone who doesn't understand what is going on makes the legal system look bad. Defendants are assumed to be "competent unless proven incompetent."

There were several things that I learned in this chapter that I had never considered previously. An interesting aspect of this label made evident in the chapter is that being found to be competent to stand trial does not mean that someone is at a level of normal mental functioning or health. I also was intrigued by the number of defendants that are evaluated for competency every year, which came out to be more than 5% of all felons. Prisoners who return to competency and are sentenced to death, they must also be competent at the time of their execution. It is unlawful to execute someone who does not understand the reason. This evaluation of competency has a lower threshold than competency to stand trial does.

Insanity, on the other hand, refers to the state of the defendants mind at the time of the crime. It is a question of whether or not someone knows right from wrong. This particular defense was created because it does not serve much of a purpose to punish someone who cannot be held responsible for his or her actions. Convictions serve to provide retribution or to deter crime. The chapter also discusses the concept of mens rea, which we have discussed at length in my other class. Mens rea is one of the seven characteristics of crime. Someone must have a "guilty mind" or be acting with intent for their acts to be considered a crime. This guilty state of mind must occur at the same time of the crime.

In the case of both competency and insanity, we must be cautious of malingering, or exaggerating, or even faking, symptoms of illness. Defendants could possibly fake amnesia, schizophrenia, or dissociative identity disorder in order to make it seem as though they are incompetent or insane. It is difficult to detect, but there are specific techniques used to help expose the truth, such as Structured Interview of Reported Symptoms test. In the event that a defendant is successful in making a court think he or she is incompetent or insane, the defendant is often still institutionalized and treated for the symptoms.

Terms: competent, competent to stand trial, insanity, mens rea, retribution, deterrence, malingering, Structured Interview of Reported Symptoms Author Profile Page brown | March 10, 2013 3:04 PM | Reply These chapters focused on the difference between competency to stand trial, and the insanity defense. Firstly, as we have already looked at before, competency is a legal not a psychological term in which evaluates whether or not a suspect is able to stand trial. Sometimes, through medication processes the perpetrator eventually can be found to be competent and then indeed stand trial. In turn competency is a rather ambiguous terms. As the court system has defined for example in the cases of Cooper v. Oklahoma, and Medina v. California even before the court proceedings begin a presumption of CST is already established. That is to state, defendants are presumed to be competent to stand trial unless proven to be otherwise. Further it's the defenses responsibility to prove beyond a preponderance of the evidence that the defendant is not competent.
As stated before however being it is a legal and not a psychological term the ambiguous nature in how "competency" and "justice" is defined come into question. In order to prove the defendant is incompetent it must be beyond the preponderance of the evidence. This means that the judge must determine whether or not with at least 51 percent certainty that the defendant is incompetent. However, it becomes obvious this is controversial. Firstly the judge only has to prove a little over 50 percent, to prove competency and his judgment as to whether or not they are competent may be controversial. Further, experts themselves in the legal field may disagree with one another in a particular case. For example one expert could claim competency and the other not. Further, a flexible standard comes into question. That is to state whether or not the seriousness of the crime influences at all the judgment of the defendant's competence. For example does the difference in first degree murder, and burglary change how much the defendant must understand the complexity and seriousness of his/her crimes than someone facing lesser charges. This with the fact that only 50 percent certainty is needed to determine competency questions the ethics and whether or not the severity of the crime influence the threshold of competence.
Although controversial usually criminals can be found competent to stand trial. Often with antipsychotic medication and restoring competency of the criminal for the foreseeable future a trail indeed can occur. This then leads to the other side of the debate in terms of insanity. Insanity is referring to the criminal's state of mind at the time of the crime. However, insanity like competency is somewhat ambiguous as well. The terms "insanity" does not specifically relate to one specific mental illness so expert testimony although influential in some cases, can be conflicted when experts try to explain someone else's mental state.
As for the term "insanity" it also gets portrayed negatively to the general consensus of the public. Sometimes it can be labeled as a loop hole in the justice system, and that it's not "just" however, as found out from the text only about a single percent use the insanity plea, and very little defendants are successful.
Several processes to the insanity defense have been cultivated. Historically insanity crimes were approached on a retribution approach or a "eye for an eye." However this was not entirely "just." Instead it transformed to a more influential deterrence approach. In this sense using general deterrence would make other criminals see the judgment of their crimes and help to avoid future crimes, hence to "deter." However, with insanity this approach is flawed. Deterrence does not work if mens rea, and actus rea are not in accordance. In this sense an insane person who does not have "mastery of the mind" may not understand that there actions were wrong, so the deterrence approach is somewhat flawed. As a result determining whether or not someone was indeed insane became important and the M'Naghten rule, irresistible impulse, and Durham rule were put in place.
Just as competency terminology to stand trial was ambiguous, as is the terminology for insanity. This is what I found to be most interesting in the chapter. Firstly, as we all know the justice system although you are entitled to a "speedy trial" takes time. After your arraignment it may be several weeks, months or even a year before your trial (if your case makes it to trial.) this then raises questions in terms of processes we have discussed during the semester. Often insanity cases are evaluated in retrospect, however lots may have changed between the crime occurrence and the trial. As a result insanity may have to be proven from past events determined on police records, witnesses, interrogations and so forth. And we all know that memory and problems with the interview process are controversial in their own right, which could lead to problems for proving and or disproving insanity.
Perhaps most interestingly as well was again this concept of the juror in which we have evaluated the entire semester. As we have seen many things get "left for the jury to decide, and debate about." In the case of insanity often times the ambiguous terms such as to determine right from wrong, "understand" and other terms may be understood differently juror to juror. Further, jurors also tend to agree with experts which also becomes controversial in its own right.
Perhaps most interesting was the case of Kenneth Bianchi which puts most of the concepts and problems of insanity into perspective. Kenneth was an example of malingering or a sense of faking psychotic symptoms. In this case Kenneth faked an alter ego "steve" and two psychologists determined incorrectly that he had an alter ego and that Kenneth was not aware of Steve's actions. In this case he filed an insanity plea, but later pleaded guilty after Martin Orne discovered he faked his symptoms. This case however, is beneficial in studying and understanding the insanity process. When he successfully faked his symptoms of split personality he demonstrated that experts often disagree in there diagnosis, as that two said he had split personality and another disproved it. It also leads to a breakdown of the negative stigma that the public has to the insanity plea. Often times even when criminals successfully avoid prison through Malingering they succumb to long and immediate mental hospital treatment.
Overall this was the most interesting thing I learned. Often times the stereotypes of the insanity plea are incorrect, however changing those perspectives are very difficult. I would say my own opinion has not changed. It's been my opinion that mental illness although different should be treated somewhat the same in terms of justice. That is to say just as criminals can have parole, mental illness patients should be allowed to be released if medication can suppress the symptoms. Although many people may disagree with me that has always been my two cents on the issue.

Terms: insanity, competency, Cooper v. Oklahoma, Medina v. California, CST, preponderance of the evidence, antipsychotic medication, foreseeable future, Mens rea, actus rea, retribution, deterrence, M'Naghten rule, irresistible impulse, Durham rule, jury, Kenneth Bianchi, Malingering, flexible standard. Author Profile Page Christian Sather | March 10, 2013 3:07 PM | Reply Chapters 8 and 9 were very interesting. What made them interesting was what the chapters talked about. Chapter 8 focused on how our legal system decides if someone is mentally sane enough to take trial, while chapter 9 focuses on the use of the insanity defense in our legal system today. These were both very interesting chapter. To start off, I am going to summarize chapter 8. Chapter 8 starts off with the story about Russell Weston Jr. Russell walked into Capitol Hill and ended up shooting a couple of detectives before finally being captured. After he was it was found that Russell has a mental illness. He was eventually diagnosed with Paranoid schizophrenia, which is a serious mental illness whose suffers lose touch with reality. The chapter continues on to talk about how people with paranoid schizophrenia have auditory hallucinations (they hear voices that tell them to do things), as well as thought disorder and delusions. The chapter continues on telling about how Russell thought that President Clinton was a part of the communist conspiracy to take over Washington. As well as what he said after the shootings. It included the fact that he alone could stop the country from all the cannibals and communist. So what does this all have to do with the mentally insane? Obviously Russell committed a crime that resulted in the death of a couple of individuals. However, the way that it deals with our legal system is that if someone isn't in the right state of mind when they committed the offense, is it necessarily the right thing to do to send them to prison. Instead the legal system thinks that it is better for that person to get the mental help that he/she needs in a mental hospital rather than some prison where they will continue thinking the weird thoughts that they do. The chapter next talks about competence. Competence refers to the whether or not the individual has sufficient present ability to perform necessary personal and legal functions. This is basically asking the question is the person able to think rationally and create a good defense for her/himself. To go along with competence, the book talks about how our legal system runs test to see if an individual is competent to stand trial. This evaluation is commonly known as competency to stand trial (CST). What CST means is that a person should be able to understand the wrongs that he/she committed and be able to participate in his/her defense of the charges. This leads into some trouble though. How do we tell if a person is mentally competent or not? This is a big topic when it comes to the use of legal defense of insanity that we see in chapter 9. The chapter mentions a Supreme Court case that back up the fact that a person must be competent to face serious charges otherwise they should be recommended to a mental hospital. The Supreme Court case was Dusky v. United States. The chapter continues on talking about other Supreme Court cases that the United States has had that has supported the judgment that a person much be competent in order to be prosecuted to the fullest of the law. Things such as the presumption of CST and preponderance of the evidence have all been things that have evolved because of Supreme Court cases about competence and the ability to take the stand. The chapter continues on to talk about how a person must be competent in order to waive certain rights such as the right of an attorney. Chapter 8 talk's about how a person must plead guilty/waive his/her rights knowing, voluntary, and intelligent. If a person isn't able to think for themselves then he/she should be treated a little differently when it comes to the legal system itself. The next thing that chapter 8 talks about is how our criminal justice system deals with incompetent defendants. The chapters continues on to talk about how that sometimes it is necessary for the defendant to go under psychiatric evaluation and that the defense will sometimes bring in experts to talk about the defendants mental state during and after the crime. The book talks about how if they believe that the person is not competent, the judge can order and evaluation of the person's mental state with something called a Bona Fide Doubt! This is basically the fact that there is some doubt about the mental health of the individual to defend him/herself. The next thing that the chapter talks about is the characteristics of incompetent defense and how the legal system treats adolescents when it comes to incompetence. When it comes to Adolescents, it talks more about whether or not a child is capable of going to court for a very serious crime. The next thing that the chapter talks about is the right of the person to refuse treatment and CST. However, sometimes as seen in previous discussions the person cannot really make up a good mental process on their own. The final things that the chapter talks about are the competency of an individual to be executed and the process of test that our legal system uses to decide whether someone is criminally insane or not. These tests include things such as Fitness interview Test-Revised and Competence Assessment for Standing Trial for Defendants with mental Retardation. The final thing that the chapter talks about is a thing called Malingering. This is the process where someone actually fakes being mentally ill to go to trial. This is something that is a big problem and is also the reason for why we have so many different tests that a person must go through before being called criminally insane. There are also tests that actually test whether or not someone is actually faking being criminally insane. Chapter 9 talks about the use of insanity as a defense in a criminal case. The example that the chapter starts with is the Andre Yates who drowned five of her children for being a bad mother. Chapter talks about the trial of Andre Yates. The book talks about how there two main issues were facing the court; the fact that she had killed five children and the fact of whether or not she was competent to face trial. Chapter 9 continues to talk about the definition of insanity. The definition of insanity is the mental state of the individual at the time the crime was committed. The chapter finally tells us that Yates was diagnosed with postpartum mental illness. What that means is that she is severally depressed. The next thing that the chapter talks about is the evolution of insanity in law. It talks about how the fact that the law is the retribution aspect of the law that talks about how the goal of our legal system is to punish individuals. The book next talks about how the use of the mental defenses dates all the way back to the Roman Empire; the fact that if a person was found to be non compos mentis (without mastery of mind) they shouldn't be held accountable for their crimes. The next thing that the book talks about are three important cases that helped the use of insanity in our legal system. The three cases were The M'Naghten Case, The Durham Case, and the Hickley Case. All of these cases were instances where the individual was found not guilty on the basis of insanity and they were eventually given the medical care that they needed. The next thing that the book talks about is the fact that our legal system has been constantly trying to get the use of the insanity plea a little clearer. Now a day, there is a thing called guilty but mentally ill. This is the process that a person might have a little idea about what they are doing, however, they are still mentally ill and should get treatment. The next thing that the book talks about is the Twinkie defense, where basically a guy named Dan White ate to much junk food that led him into a depression where he then decided to shoot and kill the mayor and Harvey Milk. The next thing that chapter 9 talks about are the test and techniques that are used to decide whether or not someone is insane or not and how juries view the criminal defense by insanity plea. The final thing that chapter 9 talks about is the larger context of insanity law. The information that I found most interesting was when it talked about how insanity in defense goes all the way back to the Romans. The thing is called non compos mentis. This is something that I found very surprising because it gives some validity to the use of mentally insane as a defense. The next thing that I found surprising was the thing called the Twinkie Defense. I would have never imagined the fact that eating junk food could lead to someone being depressed enough to go shoot the mayor and two individuals. I know for a fact that I love eating junk food and it makes me happy not all that much sad. These two things were things that surprised me. The thing that I found most interesting was the Andre Yates trial. I could not imagine drowning five kids. It was something that I could really sick after reading because of the fact that I could never imagine doing such a thing to children. All the information that I wrote down was stuff that I learned. I knew that people sometime decided to fake being mentally ill to get off from doing a crime; however, I never knew that it actually had a legal term. I also didn't know that there were tests that can be conducted to actually test whether or not someone is mentally ill or not. The final thing that I do know now after reading the chapter is that there are a bunch of tests that are conducted to test whether or not someone is really criminally insane and whether or not that person does the crime knowingly. My view on the insanity plea hasn't really changed. I am glad to see that there are actual tests that can be done to tell whether or not someone is criminally insane. I also like the fact that there a lot of Supreme Court cases that have helped the development of insanity as a legal term. I personally believe that if our overall goal as a legal system is to make sure that people learn and become better for doing their crimes, it makes no sense for us to send mentally ill people to prison because they won't get any better. However, I do think that if a person kills someone while being mentally ill, they shouldn't be let out of the places that they are being held. Overall, these were two very interesting chapters.
Terms. Twinkie defense, called guilty but mentally ill, non compos mentis, retribution, postpartum mental illness, insanity, Malingering, Competence Assessment for Standing Trial for Defendants with mental Retardation, Fitness interview Test-Revised, Bona Fide Doubt, knowing, voluntary, and intelligent, presumption of CST, competence, competency to stand trial (CST)., Paranoid schizophrenia, thought disorder and delusions.
Author Profile Page brookef | March 10, 2013 7:14 PM | Reply Chapter 8 discussed the issue of competence and how best to handle this. Competence and competency to stand trial (CST) are demonstrated in real life cases, such as the "Capitol Shooter" and Milton Dusky. Basically, CST is an evaluation by forensic psychologists prior to the trial, which decides whether or not a person is able to adequately participate in their own defense. An interesting thing I learned while reading this chapter was from page 165, when Dusky appealed his case to the Supreme Court. CST is based not on the criminal's sanity at the time of the crime, but actually their present state. Previously, I had always figured that a criminal's state of mind remained the same from crime all the way up to trial. But now, reading this, I know that people may have been under the influence of drugs or had an untreated mental disorder, etc. The simple wording in this is the crucial difference between CST (a criminal's present state of mind) and the insanity plea (a criminal's state of mind during the crime).

Chapter 9 talks about this further, discussing the insanity plea and different cases that have shaped the meaning of this. I've never really been too fond of the insanity plea, because I believe that criminals committing such "hard" crimes (i.e. murder, rape, etc.) really cannot be fixed. The difference of sending to a hospital versus a prison is not going to fix anything. However, I did agree more with the book's paragraph on the "guilty but mentally ill" (GBMI) verdict. For some reason, I prefer it over the insanity plea, most likely because it still has the word "guilty" in it. Insane or not, I believe that criminal is still guilty.

Reading these two chapters has definitely changed my view of the insanity plea and competency to stand trial. A big one that changed my view was in Chapter 8, discussing the restoration of competency. It had never occurred to me that a person's competency can be restored, so I found this really interesting. I always figured that once you're deemed insane, there is no fix for that. In this chapter, I learned that a criminal can be granted a period of time to restore CST and stay in a mental facility. However, this isn't a guaranteed fix obviously.

Another part of these chapters that I found interesting and changed my view of insanity and CST was in Chapter 9. It was always my assumption that many criminals were using the insanity plea to their advantage by faking/exaggerating psychological disorders to get a lesser sentence. The book refers to this as malingering and, after reading that paragraph, I now know that this isn't a good idea for a criminal. The court system will just postpone your trial while attempting to restore your competency, instead of granting you a lesser sentence or finding you "not guilty." Also, I found an interesting statistic from Chapter 9: the insanity plea is used in fewer than 1% of all felony cases, and fails about 75% of the time. This is definitely a surprising fact to me!

Key Terms: Competence, Competency to Stand Trial (CST), Insanity, Guilty but Mentally Ill (GBMI) verdict, Malingering, Restoration of Competency
Author Profile Page havels | March 10, 2013 9:19 PM | Reply In chapter 8 and 9 it talks about Competency to stand Trial and Insanity. CST is where they do an evaluation to see if you have the mental competency to stand trial and defend yourself or state facts and understand all the aspects of the case. Defendants are deemed to be competent unless proved that they are incompetent. Competency has to do with the legal side of things and Insanity has to do with the psychology side. Insanity is evaluated by how sane you were at the time of the crime; insanity can only be claimed when you know that they were indeed insane at the time of the crime committed.

A person that is competent to stand trial and is sentenced to death, it is illegal for them to kill someone who does not understand why they are being executed. The evaluation of competency for the death sentence is a lower standard than the evaluation of CST. Determining what is right and wrong is hard for people who are diagnosed with insanity.

What interested me in chapter 8 is where they linked CST to adolescence. Should they be CST? They do not thoroughly understand the terms of the justice systems so I feel as if they should not be, because it is even hard for me to understand fully what is going on. It can also be really nerve racking in the courtroom and having a bunch of adults staring at you would be hard to form sentences to begin with or to recall memory. Another thing that I thought was interesting about competency is that the judge decides whether someone is competent or not and they only have to be 50/50 sure that they are.

Chapter 9 talks about the Insanity defense, which to me is a joke, but in some scenarios it could very well be the case. It is very hard to prove that you were indeed insane at the time of the crime, I learned a little bit about this in my Clinical Psychology class last semester. The insanity defense is rarely used, but in the times that it is the person that has committed say a murder, claims that someone was telling them to do it such as God. Or they really think that the person was going to hurt them and so they act out of paranoia. The people who abuse the insanity defense are those who give it a bad name and a bad reputation. Some people I do genuinely think that they need help and medication.

Those people who lie their way through the justice system by claiming that they are insane, are not just put back on the street they are put into an institution and treated for the condition that they said they had at the time of the crime. Like I said earlier it is unfortunate that people use these mental illnesses as a way out because some people truly do need help and need the proper treatment to know what is right and what is wrong.

There have been many cases where people have lied and gotten away with it, these are the cases that make the insanity plea bad.

I have learned that competency to stand trial is something that is a current state of mind where insanity is a previous state of mind. I thought that these chapters were very interesting and it makes me feel like it is really unfortunate that people try and take advantage of the justice system and find an easy way out with a condition that some people actually do need help with. I think it would be very difficult to determine whether someone was insane at the time of the crime because of all the testing that would have to take place.

Terms: Competency to stand trial (CST), insanity, insanity defense, clinical psychology, Competency, and mental illness
Author Profile Page andersch | March 11, 2013 1:42 PM | Reply Chapter eight talks about competency to stand trial. There are many different mental disorders that can affect a person's competency to stand trial. Some of these include schizophrenia, where they may experience delusions and hallucinations. What it means to be able to stand trial, is essentially and simply the ability to understand what is going on during the court proceedings, and understand what is said by people such as their lawyer and judge. This requires a substantial amount of knowledge and no physical or mental impairment that may affect their ability to stand trial. The Dusky standard which originated from the court decision of Dusky v. United States means that "sufficient present ability to consult with their attorney with a reasonable degree of rational understand whether they have a rational and factual understanding of the proceedings against him." The legal definition of competence refers to whether an individual has sufficient present ability to perform necessary present ability to perform necessary person of legal functions. The preponderance of the evidence is when the judge must be at least 50% certain that the defendant is incompetent. Whenever someone suspects the defendant has competency issue, or a bona fide, psychological evaluations are used. Some evaluations include the MMPI2 or FAI. Sometimes collateral sources of information , or information from a third party are used to evaluate competency. As a group, people who are incompetent generally have mental disorders, have a history of drug use, and have been charged with less serious crimes. Younger children also are more likely to be incompetent than older children. Restoration of competency can be done by placing the person in a mental institution for as long as the judge feels right, or the foreseeable future, when the person is competent again. Antipsychotic medication can also be used to restore competency. One downside to competency in court is malingering, where the person exaggerates their impairment to get off easier for their crime they committed. All in all, this chapter talks a lot about competency and what makes a person unable to stand trial. Psychological evaluations are goods ways to evaluate if a person is competent, but it also can make it easier for some people to have a lesser punishment for incompetency, when they are not disabled in any way. It surprised me the most to learn about who is most likely to plead incompetency. Incompetency is a good thing when the person is seriously unable to understand what is going on in the trial.

Chapter eight nine about the insanity defense, and what it is. It starts off by talking about Andrea Yates, whose trial was one of the most controversial and biggest insanity cases in the United States. Almost all of the people who are considered insane have a mental illness. They are often evaluated for a mental illness by a clinical psychologist. The difference between ¬insanity and ¬incompetency is that incompetency is the person's state of mind during the trial and insanity the state of mind during the crime. If a person did not at the time of the crime realize what they were doing was wrong, retribution would be pointless to give to the criminal. Deterrence perspective on the punishment suggests that an individual offender should be punished so that she or she learns that committing a crime that leads to punishment. In other words, criminals no matter who they are should get punished. The person must be able to understand what they did was wrong in order to be tried. People who are found not guilty by reason of insanity are often placed in psychiatric facilities for life. In order to be considered insane, the person often has to take many cognitive tests. Ultimate issue testimonies are important because it gives expert advice to the judge, even though they are not allowed to give their personal opinion. Many past court cases dealing with people who were considered insane showed that many of the people had cognitive difficulties and volitional difficulties. It is often hard to distinguish if a crime was -premeditated or not, and the cause for the crime. Some tests can be used to pinpoint a possible mental illness that may have made the criminal insane such as the Mental State at the Time of Offense Screening Evaluation and the Roger Criminal Responsibility Assessment Scale, which focus in on the persons mental state at the time of the crime. Malingering is often a setback and reason people try to declare insanity. This chapter shocked me when it talked about how hard it really is to be declared insane, and why Andrea Yates was. Insanity defense like incompetency defense is a good thing when it a person needs it. However I do feel like people can use it as an excuse to get away with a big crime.

Key Words: Schizophrenia, delusions, hallucinations, Dusky, standard competence, preponderance of the evidence , MMPI2 , FAI, bona fide, collateral sources of information, foreseeable future, antipsychotic medication, malingering, clinical psychologist, insanity, ¬incompetency ,retribution ,Deterrence perspective, not guilty by reason of insanity, cognitive tests, Ultimate issue testimonies, cognitive difficulties, volitional difficulties, Mental State at the Time of Offense Screening Evaluation ,Roger Criminal Responsibility Assessment Scale
Author Profile Page Jessica Conard | March 11, 2013 1:53 PM | Reply Chapter eight is about competency to stand trial, CST. The concerns for competency are fairness to the defendant and respect for the justice system. The defendant needs to be able to understand what is going on in the court system and be able to do certain duties (i.e. plead guilty, waive a trial by jury, testify, accept plea bargain if offered). CST is a legal concept and has functions, these include: understand current legal situation, understand the charges against them, understand the pleas available, understand the possible penalties if they are convicted, understand the roles of the judge, defense counsel, and prosecutor, trust and communicate with defense counsel, help locate witnesses, aid in developing a strategy for cross-examining witnesses, act appropriately during the trial, and make appropriate decisions about trial strategy. Some believe the CST should be made a flexible standard, meaning whether a defendant facing very serious charges in a case with complex facts may need to be more competent than someone facing less serious charges and a simpler legal proceeding.
How the criminal justice system deals with incompetence defendants is with CST evaluations. There must be a bona fide doubt or a reasonable doubt about the defendant's competency in order for an evaluation process to be ordered. One or more mental health professionals would be asked to interview the defendant, administer psychological tests, review the defendants history, and write a report, which would summarize the evaluation of the client explaining whether or not they believe the client is able to stand trial. Some characteristics of an incompetent defendant would include: live on the fringes of society, history of mental illness, history of drug abuse, charges of less serious crimes, be socially isolated, unmarried, unemployed, poorly educated, below average intelligence. Some of the most common mental health problems diagnosed in defendants found to be incompetent are: psychotic illnesses, severe affective disorders, and mental retardation. Children may also be incompetent, however this topic is very controversial, due to their intellectual immaturity, and adolescent defendants may lack sufficient understanding of the criminal justice system and lack the ability to interact effectively with their attorneys.
Chapter nine is about the insanity defense, or the principle that people who commit crimes without full awareness should not be held fully responsible for their actions. (This chapter starts with Andrea Yates case, but that is the topic of discussion for next blog, so I will begin right after that). The evolution of the insanity law can be traced back several centuries. It is fundamental to most legal systems. Many believe it is immoral to convict and punish people who are not responsible for their criminal behavior. The retribution perspective suggests that the punishment for a crime should be proportionate to the harm committed. On the other hand, the deterrence perspective suggests that an individual offender should be punished so he or she learns committing a crime leads to punishment, and so other individuals will learn from their mistakes.
Just like for those who are incompetent to stand trial, there are tests and techniques used for assessing if someone is insane, or in need of the insanity defense. It first involves a retrospective evaluation of the individual's mental state at the time of the crime. By the time of the assessment the defendant may have been treated with medication or therapy and the effects of substances that may have been preset at the time of the crime might have worn off, so a mental health professional needs to assess them having the time of the crime in mind. Second, the legal elements are much harder to define. It is difficult to assess whether or not a person has the ability to control his or her actions or know the difference between right and wrong. Lastly, there are many variations in states' insanity standards. This makes it exceptionally difficult to design a psychological instrument specific for assessing insanity.
In both of these cases on may malinger, or fake, the fact that they are incompetent or insane in order to get a punishment that is not so harsh. However, if one is faking it they may end up in a secure mental health hospital, which some may consider a better place than prison; some may say it is worse. I would hope most people do not fake this, but one can never be fully aware of that fact. I guess in a way I would feel sorry for those who need to be in a secure mental health hospital and are placed in jail, but not vice versa. Those who put themselves in there did it somewhat knowingly. In that case I would feel bad for the patients who are receiving help and are stuck in there with criminals who need to be in jail and not in a mental health ward.
Terms: Competency to Stand Trial, Flexible Standard, Bona Fide Doubt, Evaluation Process, Psychological Test, Psychotic Illness, Severe Affective Disorders, Mental Retardation, Insanity Defense, Insanity Law, Retribution Perspective, Deterrence Perspective, Mental Health Hospital
Author Profile Page corankin | March 11, 2013 3:51 PM | Reply Competency is a legal term used to describe a defendant's ability to stand trial. A few set of concerns is what is behind competency to stand trial. One involves being fair to the defendant. If defendants cannot provide information to their lawyers and aid with the investigation then it would not be a fair trial. They also need to be able to decide what to plead in a trial as well as understand exactly what is going on in a trial. Defendant's need to be capable enough to know the process of the trial as well as the consequences of it may be. If a defendant does not understand these things they may be found incompetent to stand trial.

CST refers to the state of the defendant at the time of the trial (not at the time of the crime). Defendants are competent until proven incompetent. Competence is determined by a psychologist of social worker. If they determine the defendant to be incompetent more often than not the judge will agree. CST also refers to guilty pleas and waiving an attorney. Defendants must understand exactly what this means and if they don't it would not be a fair trial. Some attorneys argue that any defendant who refuses an attorney is incompetent.

After 1971 some tests were created in order to aid in the process of determining whether someone is competent. These tests include forensic assessment instruments, MMPI-2, and the competency screening test. Since there is no gold standard to determine competence, evaluations can be difficult. Another difficulty is prosecuting teenagers as adults. Young adults' competency is different than a grown adult so they must be assessed differently.

Another issue in evaluation competency is malingering. Malingering is a term used to describe someone who is faking or exaggerating symptoms in order to get the outcome that they want. Defendants might malinger incompetent in order to delay jail time or in order to delay the trial (attorneys may call for a competency evaluation for the same reasons). Over all malingering is usually caught and does not help the defendant.

Insanity is a very controversial issue in the legal system. Insanity refers to the criminal's state at the time of the crime (not at the time of the trial). As with competency, insanity is not a psychological term but a legal one.

Insanity is used on the basis that they people that did not understand that they crime they were committing was wrong should not be punished fully for their actions. This goes along with retribution and deterrence. This means that if a person does not understand the rights and wrongs of their crime a harsh punishment will not help them.

Insanity has many different requirements among different states. And the definition can be quite complex. Some states have added irresistible impulse and volitional capacity in determining a suspect's insanity. Also there are ways around insanity. For example if a defendant is not found to be insane the can be found guilty but mentally ill. These defendants still go to prison for the whole length of the time determined by their crime but they receive help while in prison or are transferred to a mental health facility. Some states also allow defendants to plead diminished capacity if not found insane. Mental health professionals can also testify that the defendant lacked the capacity to form the specific intent to kill the victim.

Problems with insanity also are found in the jury's perception of it. A jury's reasoning is much more complex than a simple definition. And some may not understand the full intent of pleading insane.

As with competency, there are test to determine insanity. Such as: the mental state at the time of offense screening evaluation and Rodgers criminal responsibility assessment scale. These test aid a professional in determining the state of mind of the criminal but the tests still involve some level of interpretation.

I found that different states classify insanity differently interesting. I just always assumed the legal system worked the same way in all states. And this could also cause some problems since there isn't an overall understanding with insanity. I knew a lot about insanity and competency from previous classes. I always kind of put them under the same umbrella though. I thought the main difference between them was just that competency was at the time of trial and insanity was at the time of the crime. I did not know that there were many other underlying factors that made them very different from each other.

Terms: Competency, insanity, attorney, psychologist, mental health facility, mental state at the time of offense screening evaluation, Rodgers criminal responsibility assessment scale, defendant, suspect, irresistible impulse, volitional capacity, Malingering, forensic assessment instruments, MMPI-2, competency screening test
Author Profile Page JennyB | March 11, 2013 4:32 PM | Reply Chapter 8 was about CST (competency to stand trial). Reading this chapter cleared up a lot of the blurriness between CST and the insanity defense. The chapter begins with a discussion on the meaning of competency to stand trial and goes over the Dusky Standard. One of the main points made in this discussion is that a competent defendant must be competent at the time of trial. Eight functional elements of CST are listed and a discussion of CST vs competency to plead guilty and waive an attorney follows. Next in the chapter, a section is dedicated to discuss how incompetent individuals are dealt with. CST evaluations, ultimate issue expert testimonies, common characteristics of incompetent defendants, incompetent adolescents, restoration of competency, the right to refuse treatment are all under this section. Multiple tests used to asses CST are discussed next in chapter 8. Tests such as the Fitness Interview Test-Revised and the Competence Assessment for Standing Trial for Defendants with Mental Retardation are given focus. Finally, the chapter brings up the term "malingering" and discusses how this can be a problem when it comes to CST.

Chapter 9 was similar to chapter 8 but discussed the insanity defense. The chapter opened with an interesting summary of Andrea Yates' crimes and her trial. The evolution of the insanity law was given focus next and two important topics were covered there: retribution and deterrence. The chapter then went over three important cases that helped shape the history of the insanity law: 1) the M'Naghten case 2) The Durham Case and 3) The Hinckley Case. The discussion of guilty but mentally ill (GBMI) and Mens Rea Defenses followed the Hinckley Case. How jurors define insanity was the title of the next section in chapter 9 and it was found that jurors use their own definitions in judging whether or not an individual is guilty by reason of insanity. A section discussing tests that are used to assess insanity followed. Focus was given to the Mental State at the Time of Offense Screening Evaluation and the Rogers Criminal Responsibility Assessment Scales. Chapter 9 also included a section on malingering and how it can be a problem in the insanity defense. Finally, the chapter wrapped up with a discussion of insanity laws and popular myths and misconceptions about the insanity defense.

I think the thing that most surprised me was the discussion at the end of chapter 9 regarding the insanity defense. Many statistics and facts were listed here and I was shocked by most of them. Like the majority of people typically think, I thought the insanity defense was used a lot more often than it supposedly is and I also wrongly believed it was used mainly for violent crimes such as murder. I also believed that psychologists didn't agree very much on how to define insanity and how to properly diagnose someone as having a particular psychological disease. However, the discussion at the end of chapter 9 proves me wrong. I did not know any of the statistics or facts presented at the end of the chapter before reading it!

From reading this discussion, my views of the insanity defense have changed. Even though I'm interested in psychology, I wrongly believed that the insanity defense was used commonly to get cold-blooded criminals "off-the-hook." I didn't disagree or argue with people who claimed that the insanity defense was an "easy way out." Apparently, this defense is not used near as often as most people think; it is just highly publicized when it is used. In addition, the individuals who do receive a verdict of not guilty by reason of insanity can apparently spend more time locked up in an institution than some guilty individuals spend locked up in prison.

If we relate this all back to psychology, we can clearly see how clinical psychologists are important. Obviously clinical psychologists are the ones who help determine whether or not a defendant is competent, insane, or has a diagnosable mental illness. We know from the reading that psychologists have to be present to administer many of the tests that were discussed in the two chapters including, but not limited to, the MMPI. In addition, we can see how developmental psychologists might be important when thinking about incompetent adolescents. We can also see how cognitive psychology is relevant to the insanity defense because part of the definition of the insanity defense has to do with how the individual thinks; whether or not they think what they did was right or wrong.

Lastly, we can see how social psychology is relevant to the insanity defense if we look at jurors. Many studies have been conducted that correlate individual decision making with group decision making. We can see how one juror may be leaning another direction in terms of whether or not the defendant was legally insane while all the other jurors believe something different. Psychologically speaking, it may be difficult for the "outsider" to voice his/her opinion and to better fit in with the majority, he or she may just agree with the group. This type of situation may also be present when discussing psychological evaluations done by clinical psychologists. The defendant in an insanity defense case obviously sees numerous psychologists who determine whether or not he was insane and whether or not he has a diagnosable illness, say, schizophrenia. If four psychologists believe he has paranoid schizophrenia and the fifth psychologist is aware of this, he may be much more likely to diagnose the defendant with paranoid schizophrenia.

Terms: CST, insanity defense, Dusky Standard, expert testimonies, Fitness Interview Test-Revised, Competence Assessment for Standing Trial for Defendants with Mental Retardation, malingering, retribution, deterrence, M'Naghten case, Durham Case, Hinckley Case, guilty but mentally ill, Mens Rea Defenses, Mental State at the Time of Offense Screening Evaluation, Rogers Criminal Responsibility Assessment Scales
Author Profile Page rossv | March 11, 2013 4:52 PM | Reply Provide a list of psychological and legal terms you used at the bottom of your post
Chapter 8, on competency to stand trial, or CST was the most interesting to me. First it explained what exactly is CST. Although I did the basics of CST, like it's not about the mental state when the crime took place (that's insanity) but it is the mental state when they are supposed to be put on trial. However, it is just that they are competent; they have to understand what is going on at every stage of the criminal justice process. When I first read this, I thought, I don't even know what goes on at every stage of the criminal justice process, I have never been in court before and I haven't taken a class that focuses in-depth on that. This raised my concern on how they necessarily test of competence.

Later in the chapter however my questions were answered and I learned a lot!

I learned that there aren't necessary guidelines evaluators have to follow in order to test for competence. What I thought was surprising about this though was that people didn't believe that since it was a "legal" term that psychologists should not be the ones deciding whether or not someone is CST. I think (as a psychologist) this is an awful argument they should be having. We study this type of stuff yet they think we shouldn't be evaluating these people, we are trained to do that (sorry had to vent)!

A few of the tests I learned about were: Fitness Interview Test-Revised, this test was used to assess both legal and psychopathology knowledge. Another test is Evaluation of Competency to Stand Trial Instrument is a 18- item assessment semi-structured interview to assess the defendants factual knowledge of the court room. A third I learned was Assessment for Standing Trial for Defendants with Mental Retardation; it uses not only multiple choice but also responses as well about basic legal requirements. The last test I learned about is a 272 question assessment to view the defendants psychological functioning, this test is known as the Computer-Assisted Determination of Competence to Proceed.

Other things discussed in this chapter were, refusal of treatment for CST, restoration of competency, and also different cases that gave examples of these things throughout the chapter.

The next chapter I read, was about insanity. Like I mentioned earlier, this is looking at the mental state of the defendant at the time the crime was committed. Something interesting talked about in this chapter was the idea of retribution, which is basically like the saying "an eye for an eye". The perspective punishment suggests that the punishment for a crime should be proportionate to the harm committed. However, this raises a question, if the person is insane do they know that the act the committed was wrong? It also talks about different cases through history such as the M'Naghten Case and the Durham Case that have shaped how we view and reason if someone is insane. However the one that was used to satisfy everyone is called the ALI. The ALI was adopted by 26 states and includes aspects of both listed above.

This chapter also talks about different tests that are used in order to potentially view a defendant as insane.

Something I found interesting was that although the courts want to make the decision of whether or not the defendant was insane a black or white judgment, jurors view it differently. They look to make a more broader assessment of whether the person was insane at the time of the crime or not.

Although this chapter was very interesting to me, it didn't really change my views of insanity. I think insanity is something that is very hard to determine. It's hard to weigh being insane with let's say taking a bunch of innocent peoples life. I think no matter what people have committed crimes under insanity need to be in a mental health facility getting help and overcoming their disease so it doesn't happen in the future.

Terms: ALI, M'Naghten Case, Durham Case, Competency, Insanity, Fitness Interview Test-Revised, Evaluation of Competency to Stand Trial Instrument, Assessment for Standing Trial for Defendants with Mental Retardation, Computer-Assisted Determination of Competence to Proceed, retribution

[Nov 02, 2018] Best Places To Go To Prison by Lacey Rose

Notable quotes:
"... Federal Prison Guidebook ..."
May 25, 2006 |
Two disgraced Enron executives, founder Kenneth Lay and former CEO Jeffrey Skilling , were found guilty on all six counts and 19 of 28 counts, respectively. Both face lengthy prison terms.

Where they will serve their time can be almost as important as how much time they'll do, says Alan Ellis, a former president of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. Ellis now specializes in the defense of white-collar offenders.

Although criminals don't get to choose their prisons, they can make requests. And assuming their desired location matches their security classification, as defined by the Bureau of Prisons--minimum, low, medium or high--and has space available, requests are often honored.

Click here for a slide show of the 12 best places to go to prison.

Often, but not always. Take the case of Samuel Waksal , the former

ImClone Systems CEO, who requested to serve his seven-year sentence at Eglin Federal Prison Camp in Florida. (Eglin was once considered so cushy that the term "Club Fed" was actually coined to describe it. It was recently closed.) Instead, Waksal was shipped off to the Schuylkill Federal Correctional Institute in Minersville, Pa., which did not make our list.

And the fates of crooked corporate titans like former

Tyco Chief Executive Dennis Kozlowski and Adelphia founder John Rigas can hardly be encouraging either. Kozlowski will serve up to 25 years of hard time in a New York state prison, while Rigas, who is free pending an appeal, was sentenced to 15 years in the can.

The days of "Club Fed"--think golf courses and lobster bakes--are long gone. But minimum security facilities, known as federal prison camps, are the best suited for disgraced CEOs and other white-collar criminals. In theory, inmates in these camps show no risk of violence or escape. Both shoe-mogul Steven Madden and Martha Stewart are FPC alums.

Why are prison camps the way to go, if you must go at all? Among other perks, federal prison camps have a relatively low staff-to-inmate ratio, dormitory-style accommodations and little to no fencing. In fact, inmates could walk away from these camps. Few do, however, because recaptured inmates face severe consequences.

While some of the minimum security facilities still stand on their own, it is increasingly common to have camps lie adjacent to larger and more secure institutions, particularly low-security federal correctional institutions.

"It used to be that those freestanding facilities were considered to be more relaxed," says David Novak, a former


consultant who served time in a federal prison camp for mail fraud. "The differences now really come down to convenience for family, weather and things of that nature."

Ellis says the quality of life among staff members also can make one prison more pleasant than another. "Happier staff makes for happier inmates," he says.

To determine which prisons are the best places to serve time, we turned to the man who wrote the guidebook, literally. Ellis has written several editions of the Federal Prison Guidebook , which profiles each of the nation's 178 federal prisons.

[Oct 28, 2018] Don't Talk to the Police

Mar 20, 2012 |

Regent University School of Law Published on Mar 20, 2012

Regent Law Professor James Duane gives viewers startling reasons why they should always exercise their 5th Amendment rights when questioned by government officials. Download his article on the topic at .

Former CIA Officer Will Teach You How to Spot a Lie l Digiday - YouTube

10 Police Interrogation Techniques That You Need To Know About How Do Police Extract Confessions - YouTube

Talking to Police - YouTube

[Oct 11, 2018] Ted Cruz's Long Sellout on Criminal Justice Reform

Notable quotes:
"... Houston Chronicle ..."
Oct 11, 2018 |

Ted Cruz's Long Sellout on Criminal Justice Reform Once an innovator on this issue, he's descended into authoritarian fearmongering. By Jack Hunter October 10, 2018

Gage Skidmore/Flickr When Ted Cruz invoked the name of Alton Sterling -- the black man shot by police in Baton Rouge in 2016 -- before the Republican National Convention two years ago, I wrote an entire column thanking the Texas senator.

I commended Cruz for joining a growing chorus of conservatives who were beginning to see how heavy-handed law enforcement and a penal system that disproportionately punishes minorities was a big government problem that deserved more attention.

For a number of years now, high-profile figures on the right -- like Republican Senators Rand Paul and Mike Lee , former Texas governor Rick Perry , tax activist Grover Norquist , Newt Gingrich , and others -- have taken up the mantle of criminal justice reform , including a focus on how African Americans have uniquely suffered .

Yet today, Cruz has taken the opposite approach -- to a degree that is shameful .

When Cruz's competitive Democratic opponent, Congressman Beto O'Rourke, spoke to a historic black church last month in Dallas, he said, "How can it be, in this day and age, in this very year, in this community, that a young man, African American, in his own apartment, is shot and killed by a police officer?"

O'Rourke continued, "And when we all want justice and the facts and the information to make an informed decision, what's released to the public? That he had a small amount of marijuana in his kitchen."

O'Rourke was referring to Botham Shem Jean , a black Dallas man who was shot in his own apartment by a police officer who thought she had entered her own residence. The shooting happened a mere week prior to O'Rourke's church speech. The circumstances of the killing, along with police thinking it was somehow necessary for the public to know that Jean had a small amount of pot in his home, captivated the country across ideological lines.

"How can that be just in this country?" O'Rourke asked. "How can we continue to lose the lives of unarmed black men in the United States of America at the hands of white police officers?" He continued, "That is not justice. That is not us. That can and must change."

Ted Cruz Can Breathe Easy Where the Right Went Wrong on Criminal Justice Reform

Again, many Republicans, especially libertarian-leaning ones, are with O'Rourke on this. There is significant space on the right for this stance today .

But Ted Cruz is apparently no longer on board. Cruz instead tweeted a video of O'Rourke's speech, adding, "In O'Rourke's own words," seeming to condemn his language.

What is remotely wrong with O'Rourke's "own words" there? They were spot-on, and the questions he asked the church audience were par for the course for anyone, right or left, who advocates for criminal justice reform and against police brutality.

What Cruz meant in his tweet can perhaps be gleaned from his reaction to O'Rourke's call for the officer who shot Jean to be fired. "I wish Beto O'Rourke and Democrats weren't so quick to always blame the police officer," Cruz said .

Cruz is right. No one accused of wrongdoing should ever be condemned outright before we have all the facts. Yet so many victims of police brutality are almost immediately denounced , their reputations tarnished , as the Dallas police department appeared to be doing over Jean's possession of marijuana. (Jean could have had an entire meth lab in his apartment and it would not have justified a police officer walking into his own home and allegedly gunning him down where he stood .)

Perhaps most important, if there was ever a justified national WTF moment regarding police brutality, the Botham Shem Jean shooting was it .

O'Rourke was right to call for the officer's firing . How many times have conservative Republicans called for government bureaucrats to be fired for basic incompetence? (And they should!) A government agent who happens to wear a badge unquestionably deserves due process but not special treatment.

This shift by Cruz hasn't gone unnoticed.

" Bipartisan criminal justice reform casualty of Cruz campaign " read the headline in a Thursday editorial of the Houston Chronicle . "All candidates have to make sacrifices on the path to Election Day," said the staff editorial. "U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz has decided to sacrifice criminal justice reform, and that's a real shame."

It continued:

While they may address the issues from different perspectives, Democrats and Republicans have worked together in fighting mass incarceration and refocusing efforts toward rehabilitation. Part of this cooperation included an unspoken detente on scaremongering and race-baiting campaigns. Without the fear of cheap attacks, politicians and policymakers have been free to discuss the failings of our criminal justice system in stark, earnest terms . In his campaign for re-election, Cruz has shattered that truce. He has targeted otherwise bipartisan rhetoric about criminal justice reform as the subject for convenient campaign season attacks.

Unfortunately, this was but the latest example of Cruz turning away from the criminal justice reform positions he once advocated.

" Ted Cruz abandons criminal justice reform on his way to the White House ," observed Forbes ' Jacob Sullum in 2016, when Cruz was running for president:

A year ago, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley condemned a sentencing reform bill backed by Ted Cruz as "lenient" and "dangerous." Eight months later, it was Cruz's turn. Explaining his opposition to a sentencing reform bill backed by Grassley, Cruz described it as dangerously lenient.

When the Senate Judiciary Committee approved Grassley's bill by a 3-to-1 margin in October, Cruz joined four other Republicans in voting no. The Texas senator -- once a leading Republican critic of excessively harsh criminal penalties, especially for nonviolent drug offenders -- had effectively traded places with Grassley, a law-and-order Iowa Republican who has long resisted efforts to reduce those penalties.

"It is hard to escape the impression that Cruz, who is running second to Donald Trump in the race for the Republican presidential nomination and has a good shot at winning the Iowa caucus on Monday, decided to abandon a cause that might alienate conservative primary voters," Sullum concluded.

Obviously this political calculation did not pan out well for Cruz in the 2016 presidential primaries.

Though the increasingly popular O'Rourke is a talented politician, conservatives should hope that Republicans keep control of the Senate in the midterms and a Cruz victory next month would likely play a role in that outcome.

But part of what has made Beto O'Rourke formidable against Cruz in deep red Texas, or at least more competitive than anyone would have expected, is that the liberal Democrat comes across as authentic . He sticks to his progressive guns under pressure.

Before the rise of Donald Trump , Cruz was viewed by much of the GOP base as one of the most authentic conservative champions in the Republican party. It was a brand that once included, however significant or insignificant, his more libertarian than authoritarian stance on criminal justice reform.

By flip-flopping on what is still mostly an under-the-radar issue with general voters, the Texas senator is unlikely to pick up any more votes from law-and-order Republicans than he would have otherwise.

But among those who do care about criminal justice reform and combatting police brutality -- libertarians , young people , most Americans , and an encouraging number of Texas conservatives -- the opportunistic Ted Cruz will continue to come across as less authentic than he used to be.

Jack Hunter is the former political editor of and co-authored the 2011 book The Tea Party Goes to Washington with Senator Rand Paul.

[Oct 07, 2018] In a fiery speech announcing her decision, Collins ripped unsupported claims by Avenatti's client, Julie Swetnick, that Kavanaugh facilitated a Cosby-esque "gang rape" operation while in high school

See the text of full speech at New York Times
Oct 07, 2018 |

In a fiery speech announcing her decision, Collins ripped unsupported claims by Avenatti's client, Julie Swetnick, that Kavanaugh facilitated a Cosby-esque "gang rape" operation while in high school.

Some of the allegations levied against Judge Kavanaugh illustrate why the presumption of innocence is so important . I am thinking in particular not of the allegations raised by Professor Ford, but of the allegation that, when he was a teenager, Judge Kavanaugh drugged multiple girls and used their weakened state to facilitate gang rape .

This outlandish allegation was put forth without any credible supporting evidence and simply parroted public statements of others . That such an allegation can find its way into the Supreme Court confirmation process is a stark reminder about why the presumption of innocence is so ingrained in our American consciousness. -Sen. Susan Collins

Paracelsus , 38 minutes ago link

I didn't really care much about the stuff alleged to have been done by Kavanaugh thirty-five years ago. Arguing with a close family friend I stated that there was nothing I found more tiresome than the old lawyers tactic of springing something on you at the last possible minute, leaving a steaming pile of turds in the middle of your desk, and then expecting to be taken seriously. Decorum? Rules of debate? How about the laws of discovery, sharing info amongst colleagues?

Just because this was not a criminal trial is no reason to throw out the rules for policy making, the nomination process, which both sides have adhered to in the past. People were comparing this to the Anita Hill fiasco during the Clarence Thomas confirmation hearings. Delay, interrupt, stall, maximum media exposure. Never any evidence or criminal charges to point to.

In criminal trials there is the process of discovery by which the admission of evidence at the last minute is strongly ill advised, and can result in it being tossed out. Sen. Feinstein would be aware of all the rules and procedures, but she feels above it all.

FBaggins , 1 hour ago link

Hey Avenatti! If you and your client had any idea of what the truth is no one would every have heard of her or of you. Don't give us this ******** that you were just representing your client. If you had a brain you would have known she was FOS from the get go, and if you were honest you never would have represented her. So what is it? Are you just stupid or are you dishonest, or both?

bh2 , 3 hours ago link

People who make salacious claims unconfirmed or outright denied by their own named "witnesses" tend to get sued for defamation. And the lawyers they rode in on.

... ... ...

The Terrible Sweal , 3 hours ago link

Three women advance fabricated allegations and the #resistance, Demonrats, Third Wavers and cucks blame one male lawyer.

They just can't learn.

platyops , 4 hours ago link

Michael Avenatti is not a nice man at all. He was a factor in making the accusations seem like a circus. No one takes him seriously as he slinks around the gutters.

Debt Slave , 4 hours ago link

I sure am glad that Avenatti was stupid enough to represent a lunatic like Swetnick.

trutherator , 5 hours ago link

Avenatti is the scapegoat. The Ford story was already fast breaking down, and the secret polygraph and the secret therapist notes and her ex-boyfriend should have made more noise in the Senate.

... ... ...

RictaviousPorkchop , 6 hours ago link

This filth needs to be disbarred.

KingTut , 6 hours ago link

They embraced this puke and revelled in his garbage accusations. Now they need a scapegoat, and he's it. God forbid Feinstein get raked over the coals for screwing this thing up. The was a political hit, and everyone knew it. But the GOP are so spineless that a high-school-drunken-grope-fest brought them to their knees. Fortunately, the Dems stayed true to form and blew themselves up.

What I do not understand is how could they be so stupid as to endorse the Avenatti slime factory in the first place? TONE DEAF.

inosent , 7 hours ago link

Avenatti needs to be disbarred. To file a complaint for his breach of professional responsibility, suborning perjury, and engaging in acts of moral turpitude:

If enough complaints are filed with the CA state bar, he may get disbarred.

Attorneys ALREADY have a really bad rep. Part of professional responsibility is to uphold the integrity of the legal profession. The ONLY thing Avenatti did was to make every attorney look like a complete shyster sleazeball, which given I just took the bar exam and will probably become an attorney soon, I find immensely offensive.

Here is his license information:

Kidbuck , 5 hours ago link

The MSM gave these clowns face time and the morons of America watched and believed...

John_Coltrane , 6 hours ago link

The Demonrats used false sexual allegations against Roy Moore coupled with ballot box cheating (their typical mode) to win a senate seat in conservative Alabama. So, since their main national platform of open borders is so repugnant to any normal taxpaying voter, this is their only strategy. They simply got caught. All the allegations against both Kavanaugh and Moore were fabricated and the proof is the Soros' paid lawyers who represented them all. And Feinstein and Schumer conspired in this farce. And independent voters know it!

They're just pissed they got caught in their fraud and this energized the R. base which will lead to a red wave in a few weeks. And just think of the political commercial possibilities for any Demonrat senator hoping to prevail if they vote against Kavanaugh. I expect the final confirmation vote won't as close as the vote for cloture for this reason.

TemporarySecurity , 5 hours ago link

Be careful, Roy Moore was a different story. There was evidence including him saying he liked to date high school age girls as a 30 year old along with multiple other people who remembered what was alleged. Not just Democrat operatives. Morals were not that different then than now. Was he guilty of a crime no, could reasonable people still dislike his morals sure. I grew up close to that era and thought the college age kids hanging around HS girls was nasty. Moore verified as a 30 year old he liked them young.

Ford 0 corroborating evidence. By lumping in Moore with Kavanaugh you are giving credence to believe the victim because all you are following the "patriarchy" of believing the accused regardless of evidence.

MoreFreedom , 6 hours ago link

The Democrats have a long history of making last minute sexual misconduct allegations against their political opponents, always without any evidence or corroboration. And sexual misconduct allegations that pale in comparison to what a lot of Democrats have been alleged to do (rape allegations against Clinton, Kennedy having an affair that left a woman dead, John Conyers for settling sexual harassment allegations with taxpayer money, Hillary for trashing victims, or consider Weinstein and other famous/rich Democrat donors or newsmen). I'd bet most of these allegations against Republicans were simply made up for political purposes because they were plausible, couldn't be disproven, and couldn't be proven. Ford's allegations fit the pattern.

The charges are always last minute, to deny the accused an opportunity to defend themselves. Kavanaugh provided an excellent defense that would be good court room drama in a movie, when no one in the GOP was willing to defend him, and too afraid of being accused of not believing a victim and attacking them.

What's really going on are the Democrats in charge, are looking to deflect the attention from what they did, to Avanetti because Avanetti did the same, except the charges of his client, weren't believable, even though they couln't be proven or disproven. They don't want to take the blame, for what voters might do in the midterms.

One thing's for sure, you don't see Democrats calling for indicting and prosecuting false accusers. They're teaching people to bear false witness for their personal purposes.

Totally_Disillusioned , 7 hours ago link

" Gang rape mastermind " might have been a bridge too far"

putupjob , 7 hours ago link

was this great or what?

avenatti gave the diversion, the clutter, the political sideshow so that all charges could be swept away and completely fake and uncorroborated. there was no provable basis for the ford charges, but the crazy swetnick stories simplified brooming the whole thing.

we can only hope that avenatti will be back in 2020, to run for president, and to come marching with his parade of **** stars and "wronged" women who spend all their time performing in strip clubs.

[Oct 05, 2018] False accusations are a very serious thing, and we are accepting them all too glibly

Oct 05, 2018 |

Deltaeus , October 2, 2018 at 4:38 pm

Wow. I'm saddened that so many people carelessly toss aside the best parts of our civilisation such as the presumption of innocence.
Accusers have to prove their charges.

Imagine Joe Lauria is accused by someone of something heinous. Anyone who doesn't like Joe can now comment on social media about how he looks like the type of guy who would do that. Anyone who disagrees with him might be motivated to do that. They can suggest psychological reasons for his atrocious behaviour. The accuser does not need to prove anything – just some lurid details and a tearful interview are enough, and the rest of us can no longer see his by-line without remembering all of the innocent children he molested.
See? What I just insinuated is completely untrue. Joe is an honest and good man, but anyone can smear him at any time and ruin his livelihood. Its easy. And Joe just made it easier with this article.

Please, think about what it is like to be unfairly accused. Perhaps in the abstract you can shrug, but talk to anyone who has actually been the victim of false allegations, and you will realise how powerless you are in that situation. Your only protection is the civilised idea that you are innocent until proven guilty, and if you destroy that, well, that would be a shame.

irina , October 2, 2018 at 10:53 pm

Have you ever experienced a false accusation ? I have, and I didn't even know it.

For many years, my mother in law sincerely believed that her grandson was not her son's child. This was patently untrue, but I was clueless because no one (we lived surrounded by her immediate family) told me, although the women all gossiped behind my back. You can only imagine how this affected all my familial relationships. She never did come clean about this situation (her thinking was affected by long term steroid use) but did eventually apologize to me (without precisely stating why) the year our son turned thirteen, at which point he started strongly resembling his dad (her son).

False accusations are a very serious thing, and we are accepting them all too glibly.

[Oct 05, 2018] How to Defend Against Charges of Harassment in the Workplace

Oct 05, 2018 |

If you are accused of harassment in the workplace, it is important to carefully consider your next moves. Your initial reaction might be to vehemently defend yourself against the claims; however, try to keep a cool and calm head and approach the situation professionally. The more hotly you protest the charges and the angrier you get, the less inclined people may be to listen to your side of the story. Talk to a Lawyer

Book a consultation with a lawyer. If the matter can't be resolved via simple mediation within the workplace, you have to be sure to protect yourself and your job. A lawyer can advise you of your legal rights and give you an idea of how to best proceed with such allegations presented against you.

Write it Down

Provide a written account of what happened from your point of view. While this may differ from the account of the person claiming the harassment, it is important that you at least get your side of the story out. A written statement doing so gives human resources and/or management something to refer to during the investigation.

Tell the Truth

Be honest. If you know you did what the accusers say you did, be honest and the ensuing punishment may be less harsh. Talk to your manager about what happened, admit to what you did wrong and provide solutions for how to avoid further incidents. Most important: stop the "harassing" behavior immediately. The situation may worsen if it continues, whether you feel it is actual harassment or not.

Provide Witnesses

Provide an alibi and/or witnesses, if the claims are not true. If someone says you harassed them at a time when you know you were in a meeting or talking to someone in his office, then say so. Supply the name of any witnesses who can provide you an alibi. If there were other people around at the time that the alleged harassment took place, ask them to speak up on your behalf.

Stay Calm

Avoid retaliating in any way. Particularly if you have been falsely accused, you may feel angry, frustrated and more emotional than usual because of what you are going through. Don't take any adverse reaction against the person that made the allegations or do anything that might be perceived as retaliatory.

Draw Attention to Your History

Give an accounting of your track record with the company. If you've been accused of something you know you didn't do and you have a clean personnel file, explain to your manager that you've been with the company "X" amount of years, have never had a problem with another employee and have always treated others with the utmost respect. Your record could work in your favor.

Consult with HR

Consult with your human resources representative to determine how to best proceed according to company policy. Explain your side of the story and focus on what you can do to resolve the matter quickly and focus on your job. A human resources rep might be able to mediate in the matter and get it settled without having to take things further; she may also advise you of the steps you need to take or explain that there is nothing more you can do while the company investigates.


[Oct 05, 2018] Here's the truth about false accusations of sexual violence by Lisa Lazard,

Oct 05, 2018 |

What's clear is that the spectre of false allegation continues to dog the reporting of sexual violence. There remains a public impression that false allegations are common and that innocent people suffer as the result of being wrongfully accused.

The evidence on false allegations fails to support public anxiety that untrue reporting is common. While the statistics on false allegations vary – and refer most often to rape and sexual assault – they are invariably and consistently low. Research for the Home Office suggests that only 4% of cases of sexual violence reported to the UK police are found or suspected to be false.

Studies carried out in Europe and in the US indicate rates of between 2% and 6%.

... ... ...

This article was written by Lisa Lazard , Senior Lecturer in Psychology, The Open University and was originally published on The Conversation .

[Sep 25, 2018] Kavanausea We Are Living Nineteen Eighty-Four...

Sep 25, 2018 |

Authored by Victor Davis Johnson via,

Truth, due process, evidence, rights of the accused: All are swept aside in pursuit of the progressive agenda.

George Orwell's 1949 dystopian novel Nineteen Eighty-Four is no longer fiction. We are living it right now.

Google techies planned to massage Internet searches to emphasize correct thinking. A member of the so-called deep state, in an anonymous op-ed, brags that its "resistance" is undermining an elected president. The FBI, CIA, DOJ, and NSC were all weaponized in 2016 to ensure that the proper president would be elected -- the choice adjudicated by properly progressive ideology. Wearing a wire is now redefined as simply flipping on an iPhone and recording your boss, boy- or girlfriend, or co-workers.

But never has the reality that we are living in a surreal age been clearer than during the strange cycles of Christine Blasey Ford's accusations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.

In Orwell's world of 1984 Oceania, there is no longer a sense of due process, free inquiry, rules of evidence and cross examination, much less a presumption of innocence until proven guilty. Instead, regimented ideology -- the supremacy of state power to control all aspects of one's life to enforce a fossilized idea of mandated quality -- warps everything from the use of language to private life.

Oceania's Rules

Senator Diane Feinstein and the other Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee had long sought to destroy the Brett Kavanaugh nomination. Much of their paradoxical furor over his nomination arises from the boomeranging of their own past political blunders, such as when Democrats ended the filibuster on judicial nominations, in 2013. They also canonized the so-called 1992 Biden Rule, which holds that the Senate should not consider confirming the Supreme Court nomination of a lame-duck president (e.g., George H. W. Bush) in an election year.

Rejecting Kavanaugh proved a hard task given that he had a long record of judicial opinions and writings -- and there was nothing much in them that would indicate anything but a sharp mind, much less any ideological, racial, or sexual intolerance. His personal life was impeccable, his family admirable.

Kavanaugh was no combative Robert Bork, but congenial, and he patiently answered all the questions asked of him, despite constant demonstrations and pre-planned street-theater interruptions from the Senate gallery and often obnoxious grandstanding by "I am Spartacus" Democratic senators.

So Kavanaugh was going to be confirmed unless a bombshell revelation derailed the vote. And so we got a bombshell.

Weeks earlier, Senator Diane Feinstein had received a written allegation against Kavanaugh of sexual battery by an accuser who wished to remain anonymous. Feinstein sat on it for nearly two months, probably because she thought the charges were either spurious or unprovable. Until a few days ago, she mysteriously refused to release the full text of the redacted complaint , and she has said she does not know whether the very accusations that she purveyed are believable. Was she reluctant to memorialize the accusations by formally submitting them to the Senate Judiciary Committee, because doing so makes Ford subject to possible criminal liability if the charges prove demonstrably untrue?

The gambit was clearly to use the charges as a last-chance effort to stop the nomination -- but only if Kavanaugh survived the cross examinations during the confirmation hearing. Then, in extremis , Feinstein finally referenced the charge, hoping to keep it anonymous, but, at the same time, to hint of its serious nature and thereby to force a delay in the confirmation. Think something McCarthesque, like "I have here in my hand the name . . ."

Delay would mean that the confirmation vote could be put off until after the midterm election, and a few jeopardized Democratic senators in Trump states would not have to go on record voting no on Kavanaugh. Or the insidious innuendos, rumor, and gossip about Kavanaugh would help to bleed him to death by a thousand leaks and, by association, tank Republican chances at retaining the House. (Republicans may or may not lose the House over the confirmation circus, but they most surely will lose their base and, with it, the Congress if they do not confirm Kavanaugh.)

Feinstein's anonymous trick did not work. So pressure mounted to reveal or leak Ford's identity and thereby force an Anita-Hill–like inquest that might at least show old white men Republican senators as insensitive to a vulnerable and victimized woman.

The problem, of course, was that, under traditional notions of jurisprudence, Ford's allegations simply were not provable. But America soon discovered that civic and government norms no longer follow the Western legal tradition. In Orwellian terms, Kavanaugh was now at the mercy of the state. He was tagged with sexual battery at first by an anonymous accuser, and then upon revelation of her identity, by a left-wing, political activist psychology professor and her more left-wing, more politically active lawyer.

Newspeak and Doublethink

Statue of limitations? It does not exist. An incident 36 years ago apparently is as fresh today as it was when Kavanaugh was 17 and Ford 15.

Presumption of Innocence? Not at all. Kavanaugh is accused and thereby guilty. The accuser faces no doubt. In Orwellian America, the accused must first present his defense, even though he does not quite know what he is being charged with. Then the accuser and her legal team pour over his testimony to prepare her accusation.

Evidence? That too is a fossilized concept. Ford could name neither the location of the alleged assault nor the date or time. She had no idea how she arrived or left the scene of the alleged crime. There is no physical evidence of an attack. And such lacunae in her memory mattered no longer at all.

Details? Again, such notions are counterrevolutionary. Ford said to her therapist 6 years ago (30 years after the alleged incident) that there were four would-be attackers, at least as recorded in the therapist's notes.

But now she has claimed that there were only two assaulters: Kavanaugh and a friend. In truth, all four people -- now including a female -- named in her accusations as either assaulters or witnesses have insisted that they have no knowledge of the event, much less of wrongdoing wherever and whenever Ford claims the act took place. That they deny knowledge is at times used as proof by Ford's lawyers that the event 36 years was traumatic.

An incident at 15 is so seared into her lifelong memory that at 52 Ford has no memory of any of the events or details surrounding that unnamed day, except that she is positive that 17-year-old Brett Kavanaugh, along with four? three? two? others, was harassing her. She has no idea where or when she was assaulted but still assures that Kavanaugh and his friend Mark Judge were drunk, but that she and the others (?) merely had only the proverbial teenage "one beer." Most people are more likely to know where they were at a party than the exact number of alcoholic beverages they consumed -- but not so much about either after 36 years.

Testimony? No longer relevant. It doesn't matter that Kavanaugh and the other alleged suspect both deny the allegations and have no memory of being in the same locale with Ford 36 years ago. In sum, all the supposed partiers, both male and female, now swear, under penalty of felony, that they have no memory of any of the incidents that Ford claims occurred so long ago. That Ford cannot produce a single witness to confirm her narrative or refute theirs is likewise of no concern. So far, she has singularly not submitted a formal affidavit or given a deposition that would be subject to legal exposure if untrue.

Again, the ideological trumps the empirical. "All women must be believed" is the testament, and individuals bow to the collective. Except, as in Orwell's Animal Farm, there are ideological exceptions -- such as Bill Clinton, Keith Ellison, Sherrod Brown, and Joe Biden. The slogan of Ford's psychodrama is "All women must be believed, but some women are more believable than others." That an assertion becomes fact due to the prevailing ideology and gender of the accuser marks the destruction of our entire system of justice.

Rights of the accused? They too do not exist. In the American version of 1984 , the accuser, a.k.a. the more ideologically correct party, dictates to authorities the circumstances under which she will be investigated and cross-examined: She will demand all sorts of special considerations of privacy and exemptions; Kavanaugh will be forced to return and face cameras and the public to prove that he was not then, and has never been since, a sexual assaulter.

In our 1984 world, the accused is considered guilty if merely charged, and the accuser is a victim who can ruin a life but must not under any circumstance be made uncomfortable in proving her charges.

Doublespeak abounds. "Victim" solely refers to the accuser, not the accused, who one day was Brett Kavanaugh, a brilliant jurist and model citizen, and the next morning woke up transformed into some sort of Kafkaesque cockroach. The media and political operatives went in a nanosecond from charging that she was groped and "assaulted" to the claim that she was "raped."

In our 1984, the phrase "must be believed" is doublespeak for "must never face cross-examination."

Ford should be believed or not believed on the basis of evidence , not her position, gender, or politics. I certainly did not believe Joe Biden, simply because he was a U.S. senator, when, as Neal Kinnock's doppelganger, he claimed that he came from a long line of coal miners -- any more than I believed that Senator Corey Booker really had a gang-banger Socratic confidant named "T-Bone," or that would-be senator Richard Blumenthal was an anguished Vietnam combat vet or that Senator Elizabeth Warren was a Native American. (Do we need a 25th Amendment for unhinged senators?) Wanting to believe something from someone who is ideologically correct does not translate into confirmation of truth.

Ford supposedly in her originally anonymous accusation had insisted that she had sought "medical treatment" for her assault. The natural assumption is that such a term would mean that, soon after the attack, the victim sought a doctor's or emergency room's help to address either her physical or mental injuries -- records might therefore be a powerful refutation of Kavanaugh's denials.

But "medical treatment" now means that 30 years after the alleged assault, Ford sought counseling for some sort of "relationship" or "companion" therapy, or what might legitimately be termed "marriage counseling." And in the course of her discussions with her therapist about her marriage, she first spoke of her alleged assault three decades earlier. She did not then name Kavanaugh to her therapist, whose notes are at odds with Ford's current version.

Memory Holes

Then we come to Orwell's idea of "memory holes," or mechanisms to wipe clean inconvenient facts that disrupt official ideological narratives.

Shortly after Ford was named, suddenly her prior well-publicized and self-referential social-media revelations vanished, as if she'd never held her minor-league but confident pro-Sanders, anti-Trump opinions . And much of her media and social-media accounts were erased as well.

Similarly, one moment the New York Times -- just coming off an embarrassing lie in reporting that U.N. ambassador Nikki Haley had ordered new $50,000 office drapes on the government dime -- reported that Kavanaugh's alleged accomplice, Mark Judge, had confirmed Ford's allegation. Indeed, in a sensational scoop, according to the Times , Judge told the Judiciary Committee that he does remember the episode and has nothing more to say. In fact, Judge told the committee the very opposite: that he does not remember the episode . Forty minutes later, the Times embarrassing narrative vanished down the memory hole.

The online versions of some of the yearbooks of Ford's high school from the early 1980s vanished as well. At times, they had seemed to take a perverse pride in the reputation of the all-girls school for underage drinking, carousing, and, on rarer occasions, "passing out" at parties. Such activities were supposed to be the monopoly and condemnatory landscape of the "frat boy" and spoiled-white-kid Kavanaugh -- and certainly not the environment in which the noble Ford navigated. Seventeen-year-old Kavanaugh was to play the role of a falling-down drunk; Ford, with impressive powers of memory of an event 36 years past, assures us that as a circumspect 15-year-old, she had only "one beer."

A former teenage friend of Ford's sent out a flurry of social-media postings, allegedly confirming that Ford's ordeal was well known to her friends in 1982 and so her assault narrative must therefore be confirmed. Then, when challenged on some of her incoherent details (schools are not in session during summertime, and Ford is on record as not telling anyone of the incident for 30 years), she mysteriously claimed that she no longer could stand by her earlier assertions, which likewise soon vanished from her social-media account. Apparently, she had assumed that in 2018 Oceania ideologically correct citizens merely needed to lodge an accusation and it would be believed, without any obligation on her part to substantiate her charges.

When a second accuser, Deborah Ramirez, followed Ford seven days later to allege another sexual incident with the teenage Kavanaugh, at Yale 35 years ago, it was no surprise that she followed the now normal Orwellian boilerplate : None of those whom she named as witnesses could either confirm her charges or even remember the alleged event. She had altered her narrative after consultations with lawyers and handlers. She too confesses to underage drinking during the alleged event. She too is currently a social and progressive political activist. The only difference from Ford's narrative is that Ramirez's accusation was deemed not credible enough to be reported even by the New York Times , which recently retracted false stories about witness Mark Judge in the Ford case, and which falsely reported that U.N. ambassador Nikki Haley had charged the government for $50,000 office drapes.

As in 1984 , "truths" in these sorts of allegations do not exist unless they align with the larger "Truth" of the progressive project. In our case, the overarching Truth mandates that, in a supposedly misogynist society, women must always be believed in all their accusations and should be exempt from all counter-examinations.

Little "truths" -- such as the right of the accused, the need to produce evidence, insistence on cross-examination, and due process -- are counterrevolutionary constructs and the refuge of reactionary hold-outs who are enemies of the people. Or in the words of Hawaii senator Mazie Hirono:

Guess who's perpetuating all of these kinds of actions? It's the men in this country. And I just want to say to the men in this country, "Just shut up and step up. Do the right thing, for a change."

The View 's Joy Behar was more honest about the larger Truth: "These white men, old by the way, are not protecting women," Behar exclaimed. "They're protecting a man who is probably guilty." We thank Behar for the concession "probably."

According to some polls, about half the country believes that Brett Kavanaugh is now guilty of a crime committed 36 years ago at the age of 17. And that reality reminds us that we are no longer in America . We are already living well into the socialist totalitarian Hell that Orwell warned us about long ago.

NiggaPleeze , 10 seconds ago

National Review? Really? Does it get more evil than them?

Debt Slave , 16 seconds ago

According to some polls, about half the country believes that Brett Kavanaugh is now guilty of a crime committed 36 years ago at the age of 17.

Well half the country are idiots but the important thing to remember in our democracy is that the idiots have the right to vote. And here we are today.

No wonder the founders believed that democracy was a stupid idea. But we know better than they did, right?

Jkweb007 , 37 seconds ago

It is hard for me to believe 50% when in America you are presumed innocent till proven guilty. Is this the spanish inquizition or salem witch trials. If he floats he was innocent. I am shocked that people in congress would make statements, she must be believed, I believe he is guilty. These are people who represent and stand for the constitution that many died in the defense of life liberty and the persuit of happiness. It may be time for that mlilitia that our founding fathers endorsed. If Kavanaugh is rebuked for these accusation our freedom, free speech may be next.

herbivore , 1 minute ago

Peter Griffin knows what's what:

GOSPLAN HERO , 4 minutes ago

Just another day in USSA.

THORAX , 6 minutes ago

One more confirmation that the so called "social justice warriors" -like last night's goons' who shamefully interrupted Senator Cruz's night out with his wife at a private restaurant- are Orwell's projected fascists!

opport.knocks , 20 minutes ago

Bush 2 was in the big chair when he and his cabinet started the USA down the full Orwellian path (Patriot Act, post 911). Kavanaugh and his wife were both members of that government team.

If there is any reason to dismiss him, that would be it, not this post-pubescent sex crap.

If I was a cynical person, I would say this whole exercise is to deflect attention away from that part of his "swampy" past.

Aubiekong , 23 minutes ago

We lost the republic when we allowed the liberals to staff the ministry of education...

CheapBastard , 15 minutes ago

My neighbor is a high school teacher. I asked her if she was giving students time off to protest this and she looked at me and said, "Just the opposite. I have given them a 10 page seminar paper to write on the meaning of Due Process."

So there IS hope.

my new username , 23 minutes ago

This is criminal contempt for the due lawful process of the Congress.

These are unlawful attempts and conspiracies to subvert justice.

So we need to start arresting, trying, convicting and punishing the criminals.

BlackChicken , 23 minutes ago

Truth, due process, evidence, rights of the accused: All are swept aside in pursuit of the progressive agenda.

This needs to end, not later, NOW.

Be careful what you wish for leftists, I'll dedicate my remaining years to torture you with it.

Jus7tme , 22 minutes ago

>>the socialist totalitarian Hell that Orwell warned us about long ago.

I think Orwell was in 1949 was warning about a fascist totalitarian hell, not a socialist one, but nice try rewriting history.

Duc888 , 29 minutes ago

WTF ever happened to "innocent until PROVEN guilty"?

CheapBastard , 19 minutes ago

Schumer said before the confirmation hearings even began he would not let Kavanaugh become SC justice no matter what.

Dems are so tolerant, open minded and respectful of due process, aren't they.

[Sep 25, 2018] Sic Semper Tyrannis Man freed in Maine after false conviction by a conspiracy of women

Sep 25, 2018 |

Man freed in Maine after false conviction by a conspiracy of women Mainerape

"Besides filing a federal civil lawsuit against police officers, prosecutors and other witnesses in his case, Filler filed a complaint about former prosecutor Mary Kellett with the Maine Board of Overseers of the Bar, which resulted in Kellett becoming the first prosecutor in recent memory to be publicly sanctioned by the state over prosecutorial misconduct. Kellett, who now works as a defense attorney, prosecuted Filler at his first trial in 2009.

Filler, who now lives in suburban Atlanta, was contacted via email but declined to say how much money he is getting in the settlement.

"I am grateful to all my attorneys but most of all I am grateful for my strong family and my two amazing children who I have been blessed to see grow up," Filler wrote in a statement Monday night." Bangor Daily News


Ok folks, this fellow, in the back in this picture, has so far received $375,000 in damages from various parties in Maine for having been railroaded by his ex-wife and her friends, who included the woman prosecutor, in his rape trial in 2009.

The review process decided that his wife lied about him to gain revenge in a custody case over their two children and that the prosecutor who has now been sanctioned for prosecutorial misconduct withheld exculpatory evidence to obtain a conviction . A friend of the wife, a female RN, coached the wife to cry in court so as to make "it seem more real." The RN has been sued by the now vindicated ex-husband. I hope she loses every cent she might ever have.

Several here on SST have maintained that women seldom falsely accuse men. What a joke!

"... the Female of Her Species is more deadly than the Male." Kipling

Posted at 06:58 PM in Justice | Permalink | 2 Comments

[Sep 21, 2018] This Man's Incredible Story Proves Why Due Process Matters In The Kavanaugh Case Zero Hedge

Sep 21, 2018 |

This Man's Incredible Story Proves Why Due Process Matters In The Kavanaugh Case

by Tyler Durden Fri, 09/21/2018 - 21:05 3 SHARES

Submitted by James Miller of The Political Insider

Somewhere between the creation of the Magna Carta and now, leftists have forgotten why due process matters; and in some cases, such as that of Judge Brett Kavanaugh, they choose to outright ignore the judicial and civil rights put in place by the U.S. Constitution.

me title=

In this age of social media justice mobs, the accused are often convicted in the court of public opinion long before any substantial evidence emerges to warrant an investigation or trial. This is certainly true for Kavanaugh. His accuser, Christine Blasey Ford , cannot recall the date of the alleged assault and has no supporting witnesses, yet law professors are ready to ruin his entire life and career. Not because they genuinely believe he's guilty, but because he's a pro-life Trump nominee for the Supreme Court.

It goes without saying: to "sink Kavanaugh even if" Ford's allegation is untrue is unethical, unconstitutional, and undemocratic. He has a right to due process, and before liberals sharpen their pitchforks any further they would do well to remember what happened to Brian Banks.

In the summer of 2002, Banks was a highly recruited 16-year-old linebacker at Polytechnic High School in California with plans to play football on a full scholarship to the University of Southern California. However, those plans were destroyed when Banks's classmate, Wanetta Gibson, claimed that Banks had dragged her into a stairway at their high school and raped her.

Gibson's claim was false, but it was Banks's word against hers. Banks had two options: go to trial and risk spending 41 years-to-life in prison, or take a plea deal that included five years in prison, five years probation, and registering as a sex offender. Banks accepted the plea deal under the counsel of his lawyer, who told him that he stood no chance at trial because the all-white jury would "automatically assume" he was guilty because he was a "big, black teenager."

Gibson and her mother subsequently sued the Long Beach Unified School District and won a $1.5 million settlement. It wasn't until nearly a decade later, long after Banks's promising football career had already been tanked, that Gibson admitted she'd fabricated the entire story.

Following Gibson's confession, Banks was exonerated with the help of the California Innocence Project . Hopeful to get his life back on track, he played for Las Vegas Locomotives of the now-defunct United Football League in 2012, and signed with the Atlanta Falcons in 2013. But while Banks finally received justice, he will never get back the years or the prospective pro football career that Gibson selfishly stole from him.

Banks's story is timely, and it serves as a powerful warning to anyone too eager to condemn those accused of sexual assault. In fact, a film about Banks's ordeal, Brian Banks , is set to premiere at the Los Angeles Film Festival next week.

Perhaps all the #MeToo Hollywood elites and their liberal friends should attend the screening - and keep Kavanaugh in their minds as they watch.

Reaper , 2 minutes ago

False charges were condemned by Moses 3200 years ago. We need his solution: the false accusser suffers the penalty they desired on ther falsely accused.

[Sep 15, 2018] A shyster attorney that I had the unfortunate experience in working with, did tell the truth once when he said that there is no such thing as a justice system but there is a legal industry.

Sep 15, 2018 |

Patient Observer September 14, 2018 at 9:16 am

If not always fair or flexible, it seems efficient – no attorneys collecting large fees in a justice system designed to enrich attorneys. A shyster attorney that I had the unfortunate experience in working with, did tell the truth once when he said that there is no such thing as a justice system but there is a legal industry.

[Sep 08, 2018] The Show must go on: Papadopoulos Sentenced To 14 Days In Prison For Lying To FBI In Mueller Probe

From comments: "In short, false inquiry into imaginary collusion hands down pseudo-indictments for quasi-obstruction of fraudulent justice based on fake news reported by mock journalists quoting fictitious sources leaking fabricated stories about made-up events about the false inquiry into imaginary collusion. " Papadopolous lied to hide the fact that the Trump tower meeting was intended as an entrapment to make Trump look like he was colluding - and even having TAKEN that meeting, it remains undisclosed to the public what information might have been considered 'dirt' that would be regarded as illegal for a political opponent to use or disclose
Sep 08, 2018 |

Trump's former campaign foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos was sentenced to 14 days in jail, the first campaign official to be sentenced as part of Robert Mueller's probe into Russian election interference. Papadopoulos was sentenced to one year of supervised release, 200 hours of community service and a $9,500 fine.

Papadopoulos pleaded guilty in October 2017 to making false statements to the FBI about his contacts with Russia nationals and efforts to arrange a meeting with the Trump campaign and the Russian government.

During the sentencing, Papadopoulos' lawyer told the judge that he was motivated to lie in part by Trump characterizing investigation as "Fake news."

Imxploring ,

First rule in dealing with the FBI or law enforcement.... Say NOTHING! When they come calling to talk to you they are trying to lock you up.... and if they want to "talk"... they don't have enough to do so.... don't give it to them!

haruspicio ,

I have just been through this is another country. Just give a no comment interview and make sure you have a lawyer by your side before even opening your mouth to answer a question from a cop.

Golden Phoenix ,

This is why you should never say anything to police or other investigators. They'll entrap you, twist your words, and suddenly an otherwise innocent person is convicted of a purely procedural crime.

Justapleb ,

This carried the flag for Russian Collusion a year ago, how Papadopoulus had been "flipped" and was "cooperating" with the Mueller investigation.

What happens after they "flip" former Trump people and they start "cooperating"? Nothing. Because there is no crime even coherently stated pertaining to Russia. "Colluding" is not a crime.

God what convoluted potempkin show trials.

Davidduke2000 ,

hillary lied and lied and lied and lied to the FBI, CIA, NSA and everybody in the intelligence and law enforcement agencies and got zero days in jail.

pparalegal ,

Not hard when your co-conspirators are all given pre-immunity and you are given the questions beforehand. And because the loudest, smartest woman in the world always says "I don't recall".


Let's not forget that an FBI contract "lure" met George in Europe and hired George to do some work for him. Gave George $10,000 in marked bills. The object was to dirty George up, maybe even claim he was paid by a Russian agent. When shortly thereafter George arrived in the US, before he could go to Customs the FBI stopped him. They thought they'd catch him with the bills. They didn't. George had left them behind in Europe. Tough luck, FBI.

bh2 ,

The lesson this teaches is the one every defense attorney advises to his clients: "never speak to the police".

All these brain-dead prosecutions accomplish is to confirm those defense attorneys are correct.

[Aug 29, 2018] Trump is Right About 'Flipping'

Notable quotes:
"... Reprinted with permission from the Future of Freedom Foundation . ..."
Aug 29, 2018 |

In the wake of the federal criminal conviction of former Trump official Paul Manafort and the guilty plea in federal court of former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen, the mainstream press is singing the praises of special prosecutor (and former FBI Director) Robert Mueller and the Justice Department.

In the process, Trump's critics are condemning his denunciation of "flipping," the process by which federal prosecutors offer a sweet deal to criminal defendants in return for testifying against a "higher-up" who the feds are also prosecuting. The press and the anti-Trumpsters say that such a practice is part of the "rule of law" and essential to the proper administration of justice.

Nothing could be further from the truth. Whatever else might be said about Trump, he is absolutely right on this point. The process of offering sweetheart deals to people in return for their "cooperation" to get someone else convicted has long been one of the most corrupt aspects of the federal criminal-justice system, especially as part of the federal government's much-vaunted (and much-failed) war on drugs.

Suppose a federal criminal defendant contacts a prospective witness in a case and offers him $50,000 in return for his "cooperation" in his upcoming trial. The money will be paid as soon as the trial is over. The defendant makes it clear that he wants the witness to "tell the truth" but that his "cooperation" when he testifies at trial would be greatly appreciated.

What would happen if federal officials learned about that communication and offer? They would go ballistic. They would immediately secure an indictment for bribery and witness tampering.

What if the defendant says, "Oh, no, I wasn't tampering with the witness. I specifically told him that I wanted him to tell the truth when he took the witness stand. I was just seeking his friendly 'cooperation' with my $50,000 offer to him."?

It wouldn't make a difference. Federal prosecutors would go after him with a vengeance on bribery and witness-tampering charges. And it is a virtual certainty that they would get a conviction.

There is good reason for that. The law recognizes that the money could serve as an inducement for the witness to lie. Even though the defendant tells him to "tell the truth," the witness knows that the fifty grand is being paid to him to help the defendant get acquitted, especially since it is payable after the trial is over. The temptation to lie, in return for the money, becomes strong, which is why the law prohibits criminal defendants from engaging in this type of practice.

Suppose a federal prosecutor says to a witness, "You are facing life in prison on the charges we have brought against you. But if you 'cooperate' with us to get John Doe, we will adjust the charges so that the most the judge can do is send you to jail for only 5 years at most. If you are really 'cooperative,' we will recommend that the judge give you the lowest possible sentence, perhaps even probation. Oh, one more thing, we want to make it clear that we do want you to tell the truth."

Do you see the problem? The temptation to please the prosecutor with "cooperation" becomes tremendous. If the witness can help secure a conviction of Doe, he stands to get a much lighter sentence for his successful "cooperation." The inducement to commit perjury oftentimes takes over, notwithstanding the prosecutor's admonition to the witness to "tell the truth."

Defenders of this corrupt process say that without it, prosecutors could never get convictions. That's pure nonsense. For one thing, prosecutors can secure a conviction against the witness and then force him to testify once his case is over. That's because a person whose case is over is unable to rely on the Fifth Amendment to avoid testifying in the case against John Doe.

Moreover, the prosecutor can give what is called "use immunity" to the witness, which then forces him to testify in the case against Doe. Use immunity is not full immunity from prosecution. It simply means that the prosecutor cannot use the witness's testimony against Doe to convict the witness at his trial. The prosecutor must convict him with other evidence.

But even if it means that the prosecutor is unable to secure some convictions, the question has to be asked: Do we want prosecutors securing convictions in this way? After all, there is a related question that must be asked: How many innocent people are convicted by perjured testimony from a witness who is doing his best to "cooperate" with the prosecution in the hope of getting a lighter sentence?

Given all the accolades being accorded Mueller, it is a shame that he has chosen to go down the same corrupt road that all other federal prosecutors have traveled. He didn't have to do that. He could have led the way out of this immoral morass by taking a firm and public stand against this corrupt procedure. The fact that he has chosen instead to participate in it is a shame, to say the least.

Reprinted with permission from the Future of Freedom Foundation .

[Aug 17, 2018] FBI Forensic labs are shit and dishonest. They had 20 years of cases reviewed because of their false testimony on hair matching.

Aug 17, 2018 |

Abaco -> Yellow_Snow Fri, 08/17/2018 - 12:15 Permalink

FBI Forensic labs are shit and dishonest. They had 20 years of cases reviewed because of their false testimony on hair matching. Went into court swearing that dog hair was an exact match to the suspects.

FBI forensics are nothing more than a bullshit factory for manufacturing convictions.

What is the science behind ballistic "matching" of a bullet to a gun? Just a carefully constructed lie. They imply every gun bullet combination is unique. There is NO scientific basis for claiming that. In other words a "match" might be correct but the "match" might also apply to a shitload of other weapons. Those lying fucks go into court every day and bullshit juries.

What is the science behind claiming every fingerprint is unique? Most people believe that bullshit but there is no science behind it.

What do you make of this exchange?

The only part of the FBI that might not be corrupted is their efforts against sex trafficking. But even their anti child molesting activity isn't worth much because all they do is get perverts downloading images and videos. They don't go after the actual molesters because almost always has to be a state thing. Resources given to the FBI for this would be better handled at the state level.

[Aug 14, 2018] Sic Semper Tyrannis The Paul Manafort Trial the government rests its case by Robert Willmann

Notable quotes:
"... If I were a juror, I would completely discount Gates testimony. He doesn't have any credibility in my eyes. I would keep questioning his motivations in light of knowing that he lied, falsified, embezzled and committed other financial crimes. ..."
"... Of course I would also question the motivation of the prosecutor. Why these charges now after a decade when the crimes are alleged to have occurred. ..."
Aug 14, 2018 |

On Monday, 13 August 2018, the prosecutors from "special counsel" Robert Mueller's group rested the government's criminal case against Paul Manafort [1]. At this point in the procedural context of the trial, the defendant can make a "motion for a judgment of acquittal" [2]. The word "motion" in a civil or criminal case means a request to the judge for some action or relief. By its name, this motion asks the judge to order an acquittal -- the equivalent of a finding of "not guilty" -- because the government has not put on evidence that proves each "element" of each crime that is charged against Manafort. The charges are set forth in the document filed in court by the prosecuting authority at the start of the case called an "indictment". That paper can be amended or changed as the case moves along before trial by what is usually called a "superseding indictment", which takes the place of the one filed before it.

Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 29. Motion for a Judgment of Acquittal. In part--

"(a) Before Submission to the Jury. After the government closes its evidence or after the close of all the evidence, the court on the defendant's motion must enter a judgment of acquittal of any offense for which the evidence is insufficient to sustain a conviction. The court may on its own consider whether the evidence is insufficient to sustain a conviction. If the court denies a motion for a judgment of acquittal at the close of the government's evidence, the defendant may offer evidence without having reserved the right to do so.

"(b) Reserving Decision. The court may reserve decision on the motion, proceed with the trial (where the motion is made before the close of all the evidence), submit the case to the jury, and decide the motion either before the jury returns a verdict or after it returns a verdict of guilty or is discharged without having returned a verdict. If the court reserves decision, it must decide the motion on the basis of the evidence at the time the ruling was reserved."

The indictment against Manafort is 37 pages long, but for purposes of a motion for judgment of acquittal, what matters are pages 27-35, which are supposed to state the wording of each criminal law that has allegedly been violated [3]. By tradition in federal court, usually an indictment will have the citations to each criminal offense alleged listed at the beginning, and that is done here on pages 1-2. When it was filed in February 2018, it made allegations against both Manafort and Richard W. Gates III, but as is known, Gates made a plea bargain that same month and has testified against Manafort in this trial [4]. In order to analyze a criminal case before and during a trial, you take each crime charged as a "count" of the indictment, and check it against the citation of the crime as defined by Congress in the federal criminal law. Then, you break it up into "elements", which are separate phrases and sentences that you can see will stand alone as items that must be proven by the government (or State), which when put back together track the language of each offense. You make up your own outline or chart or grid that separates out the language of each crime into the elements, and then you can keep track of the evidence that is introduced during the trial to see if enough has been presented to prove each element of each individual charge. The government will also have to prove that enough of the indictment took place in the geographical area where it is filed, called a "federal district". That issue is called "venue". Furthermore, proof has to be presented of calendar dates that show that the indictment was filed within the time period allowed after the alleged crime took place, which is the "statute of limitations". Most crimes include a time period in which charges must be filed after the offense happened, or else the person cannot be charged at all. A crime can also have no time limit in which a charge has to be filed, the usual example being murder, which normally has no statute of limitations.

Judge T.S. Ellis III and his law clerks will have been watching and checking to see if the government has presented proper evidence for each element of each offense charged. If proof was not presented for just one element of one offense, that entire charge will fall and a judgment of acquittal can be issued by the judge as to that specific count of the indictment. It has been obvious from media reports about the trial that Judge Ellis has been keeping his eye on whether some evidence has been presented for each element of each charge, especially when the crime includes an element of "willfulness". He is also a judge who has the guts to grant a judgment of acquittal if he thinks it is warranted.

A motion for judgment of acquittal is rarely granted, and so if the request by Manafort is denied, it will not be surprising. Most judges take the easy way out, deny the motion, and let the jury decide. If all or part of the indictment survives the motion for judgment of acquittal, the trial will proceed, and Manafort and his lawyers will decide whether to put on evidence, or whether they will "rest" without presenting any testimony or other evidence at all.

If there is time to put a motion for judgment of acquittal in writing, it can be done as to part or all of the request. Whatever is not in writing can be orally stated in open court and recorded by the court reporter. In this instance, Manafort's lawyer made an oral motion for a judgment of acquittal after the prosecution rested, and has filed a supplement and memorandum in support of the motion relating to counts 29-32 of the indictment--

[1] The court's docket sheet entry of 13 August 2018 noting that the government has rested--

Jack , 11 hours ago

If I were a juror, I would completely discount Gates testimony. He doesn't have any credibility in my eyes. I would keep questioning his motivations in light of knowing that he lied, falsified, embezzled and committed other financial crimes. I would keep coming back to, do I know with certainty that his testimony is truthful and accurate. Of course I would also question the motivation of the prosecutor. Why these charges now after a decade when the crimes are alleged to have occurred.

Bottom line: The "beyond a reasonable doubt" threshold is a high bar for me.

Wally Courie , an hour ago
Of course, he will be found guilty. The purchase of those NY Yankees seats by Paulus directly from his offshore accounts nailed the case. But, the case would never have been brought and the mighty power of the state thrown at him but for his Trump association. Maybe a "fruit of the poison tree" appeal will be successful or an ultimate pardon in the future awaits him.

But a little known quirk of this case is that Judge Ellis is only the trial judge. The other judge who has treated him so unfairly is the sentencing judge. She will throw the book at him.

pretzelattack -> Pat Lang , 2 hours ago
what are the implications of the defense resting? it seems they are confident manafort won't be convicted, right?
Pat Lang Mod -> pretzelattack , an hour ago
IMO they expect that either Ellis will dismiss the case on some basis or that Ellis will instruct the jury in a way favorable to Manafort.

[Jul 13, 2018] Godfather Of Payday Lending Stripped Of $64 Million, Sentenced To 14 Years

Notable quotes:
"... A former Main Line investment banker known as the "Godfather of payday lending" for preying on low-income borrowers was sentenced Friday to 14 years in federal prison and stripped of over $64 million in assets, reports . ..."
Jul 10, 2018 |

"In this industry, to build a big book, you have to run afoul of the regulators" -Charles M. Hallinan

A former Main Line investment banker known as the "Godfather of payday lending" for preying on low-income borrowers was sentenced Friday to 14 years in federal prison and stripped of over $64 million in assets, reports .

Lawyers for 77-year-old Charles M. Hallinan argued that the prison term might as well be a "death sentence" given his age and declining health, however District Judge Eduardo Robreno gave no quarter as he rendered his verdict after a jury convicted him of 17 counts, including racketeering, international money laundering and fraud.

"It would be a miscarriage of justice to impose a sentence that would not reflect the seriousness of this case," Robreno said. "The sentence here should send a message that criminal conduct like [this] will not pay."

In all, government lawyers estimate, Hallinan's dozens of companies made $492 million off an estimated 1.4 million low-income borrowers between 2007 and 2013, the period covered by the indictment.

Robreno's forfeiture order will strip Hallinan of many of the fruits of that business, including his $1.8 million Villanova mansion , multiple bank accounts, and a small fleet of luxury cars , including a $142, 000 2014 Bentley Flying Spur. In addition, the judge ordered Hallinan to pay a separate $2.5 million fine. -

When given the opportunity to address the court before his sentence was handed down, Hallinan remained silent.

Hallinan's case calls into question the legality of business tactics engaged in by predatory lenders across the country - such as Mariner Finance , a subsidiary of former Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner 's private equity firm Warburg Pincus.

Many of the loans Hallinan made had exorbitant interest rates which greatly exceeded rate caps mandated by the states in which the borrowers live, such as Pennsylvania's 6% annual cap.

In court Friday, Assistant U.S. Attorney Mark Dubnoff argued that there was little difference between the exorbitant fees charged by money-lending mobsters and the annual interest rates approaching 800 percent that were standard on many of Hallinan's loans. -

"The only difference between Mr. Hallinan and other loan sharks is that he doesn't break the kneecaps of people who don't pay his debts," Dubnoff said. "He was charging more interest than the Mafia."

Hallinan "collect[ed] hundreds of millions of dollars in unlawful debt knowing that these businesses were unlawful, and all the while devising schemes to evade the law," wrote Assistant U.S. Attorneys Sara L. Grieb and Maria M. Carrillo.

Hallinan's attorneys argued that Hallinan should receive house arrest after a recent diagnosis of two forms of aggressive cancer.

"What is just, under the circumstances?" Jacobs asked. "If there is going to be a period of incarceration, one that makes it so that Mr. Hallinan doesn't survive is not just."

Judge Robreno largely ignored the plea, though he did give Hallinan 11 days to get his medical affairs in order before he has to report to prison.

Hallinan's orbit

Many of those whose careers Hallinan helped to launch are now headed to prison alongside the "godfather" of payday lending, " a list that includes professional race car driver Scott Tucker, who was sentenced to more than 16 years in prison in January and ordered to forfeit $3.5 billion in assets," reports Philly .

Hallinan's codefendant and longtime lawyer, Wheeler K. Neff, was sentenced in May to eight years behind bars.

Hallinan got into the predatory lending business in the 1990s with $120 million after selling his landfill company to begin making payday loans over phone and fax. He rapidly grew his empire of dozens of companies which offered quick cash under such names as Instant Cash USA, Your First Payday and Tele-Ca$h.

As more than a dozen states, including Pennsylvania, effectively outlawed payday lending with laws attempting to cap the exorbitant fee rates that are standard across the industry, Hallinan continued to target low-income borrowers over the internet.

He tried to hide his involvement by instituting sham partnerships with licensed banks and American Indian tribes so he could take advantage of looser restrictions on their abilities to lend. But in practice he limited the involvement of those partners and continued to service all the loans from his offices in Bala Cynwyd. -

" He bet his lifestyle on the fact that we would not catch him. He lost that bet ," said U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, William M. McSwain. " Now, it's time for Hallinan to repay his debt with the only currency we will accept: his freedom and his fortune, amassed at his victims' expense ."

1982xls -> HilteryTrumpkin Tue, 07/10/2018 - 14:59 Permalink

EmmittFitzhume -> 1982xls Tue, 07/10/2018 - 15:03 Permalink

Charles Shylock Hallinan

MasterPo -> EmmittFitzhume Tue, 07/10/2018 - 15:06 Permalink

Just some pond scum floating on top of the swamp.

Most people have no clue what is about to be revealed, and it will rock their world. But for those of us that were red-pilled early on, it is heartening to see.


[Just caught the picture of the mansion.

"There was a crooked man, and he walked a crooked mile,

He found a crooked sixpence against a crooked stile;

He bought a crooked cat which caught a crooked mouse,

And they all lived together in a little crooked house." - Mother Goose

That Mom Goose sure called 'em like she saw 'em...]

Mr. Universe -> Four chan Tue, 07/10/2018 - 15:27 Permalink

64 million in stripped assets. I wonder how much of that is going back to those who were fleeced? How much goes to .gov? Oh and inquiring minds want to know, what happened to the other 400 million plus?

charlewar -> Mr. Universe Tue, 07/10/2018 - 15:31 Permalink

All goes to the govt. The small fish need sue what's left.

A Sentinel -> charlewar Tue, 07/10/2018 - 16:56 Permalink

This is an evil business.

finally someone got tagged for ripping off us plebs.

any_mouse -> A Sentinel Tue, 07/10/2018 - 17:19 Permalink

So you think.

Did any peons receive any restitution?

Maybe a buck each from a class action brought on by Saul's Legal Team.

Parasites. Parasites with Political, Financial, and Social control.

Think of the damage a parasite could do, if that parasite could control what the host sees, hears, thinks, feels, and even control the muscles. You would be in pain, but not feel it. You could be poisoning yourself with bitter poison, while believing it is sweet honey.

COSMOS -> CriticalUser Tue, 07/10/2018 - 18:07 Permalink

In all fairness this dude is pocked change compared to the tribe bankers.

None of the schmucks pulling off trillion dollar heists went to jail.

Giant Meteor -> COSMOS Tue, 07/10/2018 - 18:23 Permalink

Sure, sure, point taken. But I don't believe that is a valid defense .. I get it, believe me. But I suspect if some higher profile cases with equilvalent outcomes aren't soon undertaken, some enterprising folks may soon take matters into their own hands .. And one could not blame them really ..

MoreFreedom -> Mr. Universe Tue, 07/10/2018 - 16:27 Permalink

One thing's for sure. There won't be any payday lenders operating in Pennsylvania, and poor people who need short term loans to deal with unexpected bills won't be getting any help, and instead will be suffering from the very high interest effective interest rates of late payment penalties. In defense of Hallinan, he didn't force anyone to sign up for these loans, he didn't break any kneecaps, and I'll bet his customers default on their loans at a high rate. There is also the legal question of from where the loan is made; given he had partners on Indian reservations and operated over the internet on behalf of those partnerships. Seems to me, the government is just grabbing this dying man's money. I'll bet he appeals the conviction to a higher court.

And does anyone believe US attorney Dubnoff who claims (which begs the question how he knows) that Hallinan charges more interest than the Mafia?

My other bet: Timothy Geithner won't be prosecuted for using the same tactics. And the poor will suffer more. While the article makes hay of Hallinan's wealth, he sold a waste management company (and I wouldn't be surprised there was political corruption involved in its growth given he lived in Philly) for $120 million and was already rich.

For a perspective in support of pay-day lenders, read these two Reason articles:

Full disclosure: The only money I ever borrowed was a few thousand for a student loan, and for my home mortgage.

vato poco -> MoreFreedom Tue, 07/10/2018 - 17:11 Permalink

that's a good post on an issue that's too easy to go all knee-jerk on. +1 for you.

I've got a coupla terrific young relatives that I'm schooling in financial knowhow - because their parents are knuckleheads about money - and lesson #2 was 'payday loans are financial crack.'


but the guy's lawyer WAS right to a degree: nobody made those victims/dumbasses sign up for them, and then not pay it back, thus flinging them into the ol' vicious downward spiral. also, there's this little fact: kids, if you find yourself lacking funds for a sudden unexpected financial expense, call it $500, you can 1) bounce a check 2) take a cash advance on your credit card, assuming you have any room left on it or 3) do the payday lender thing. let's say you only need the $ for 10 days, then ... I dunno .... then your tax refund check arrives.

cost of bouncing check (fees, etc), and bear in mind the bank will clear the big check first, thus making several other small checks bounce = $100? more?

cost of credit-card cash advance = $50, plus or minus

cost of payday loan vig = $15, plus or minus

they're kinda like handguns: just a tool. whether that tool saves your butt or ruins your life is entirely up to you, the adult. (the kids do not like this lesson very much - something about trying to avoid responsibility?)

the world is not necessarily all black and white. that said, I do hope that POS dies of treatable rectal cancer botched horribly by prison docs, resulting in a long, drawn-out, horribly agonizing death in a pink diaper

Giant Meteor -> MoreFreedom Tue, 07/10/2018 - 18:00 Permalink

An interesting take. A friend to the poor . Never quite looked at it that way, and now, I have a tear in my eye . The poor fellow, friend to the poor working stiff.

Fucking friends like that . But at at least he wasn't breaking their knee caps and all. A real humanitarian!

[Apr 02, 2018] London murder rate overtakes New York's

Apr 02, 2018 |

A spike in violent crime in London saw more murders committed in the city in February and March than there were in New York, figures show.

So far in 2018, 46 people in London have been fatally stabbed, shot or injured compared to 50 in the US city.

But, while New York's rate month-on-month has decreased since January, London's is on the rise.

[Mar 25, 2018] The West's Guilty Until Proven Innocent Mantra Is Wrecking Lives International Relations by Robert Bridge

Highly recommended!
Mar 23, 2018 |

Authored by Robert Bridge, op-ed via,

Western society is flirting with a disturbing trend where people are being denied the time-honored 'presumption of innocence'. The same undemocratic method is even being used against nations in what is becoming a dangerous game.

Imagine the following scenario: You are a star football player at the local high school, with a number of college teams hoping to recruit you. There is even talk of a NFL career down the road. Then, overnight, your life takes an unexpected turn for the worse. The police show up at your house with a warrant for your arrest; the charges: kidnapping and rape. The only evidence is your word against the accuser's. After spending six years behind bars, the court decides you were wrongly accused.

That is the incredible story of Brian Banks, 26, who was released early from prison in 2012 after his accuser, Wanetta Gibson, admitted that she had fabricated injurious claims against the young man.

Many other innocent people, however, who have been falsely accused in the West for some crime they did not commit, are not as fortunate as Brian Banks. Just this week, for example, Ross Bullock was released from his private "hell" – and not due to an accuser with a guilty conscience, but by committing suicide.

"After a 'year of torment' Bullock hanged himself in the garage of the family home, leaving a note revealing he had 'hit rock bottom' and that with his death 'I'm free from this living hell,'" the Daily Mail reported .

There is a temptation to explain away such tragic cases as isolated anomalies in an otherwise sound-functioning legal system. After all, mistakes are going to happen regardless of the safeguards. At the same time, however, there is an irresistible urge among humans to believe those people who claim to have been victimized – even when the evidence suggests otherwise. Perhaps this is due to the powerful emotional element that works to galvanize the victim's story. Or it could be due to the belief that nobody would intentionally and unjustly condemn another human being. But who can really say what is inside another person's heart? Moreover, it can't be denied that every time we attempt to hunt down and punish another people, tribe, sex, religion, etc. for some alleged crimes against victims, there is a real tendency among Westerners to get carried away with moralistic zeal to the point of fanaticism.

A case in point is last year's scandal that rocked the entertainment industry as the movie mogul Harvey Weinstein was accused of sexually assaulting numerous women over the span of a 30-year career. Eventually, over 80 females, emboldened by the courage displayed by their peers, drove Weinstein straight out of Hollywood and into the rogue's gallery of sexual predators. Few could deny this was a positive thing.

But then something strange began to happen that has been dubbed the 'Weinstein effect.' Powered by the social media #MeToo movement, women from all walks of life began to publicly accuse men for all sorts of sexual violations, some from decades ago. Certainly, many of the claims were legitimate. However, in many cases they were not. Yet the mainstream media, which has taken great delight in providing breathless details of every new accusation, has shown little interest in pursuing those stories of men who went on to suffer divorce, ruined reputations, and the loss of jobs without so much as a fair hearing in a court of law.

As far as the mainstream media is concerned, and to be fair they don't seem that concerned, the victim's story is the only story that matters. Indeed, it was almost as if the victim had become judge, jury and executioner. This is, in reality, just one step from mob rule, and woe to anyone who questions the motives of the movement, as French star Catherine Deneuve discovered.

The (female) writer, D.C. McAllister, described the poisonous "environment of suspicion" that has beset relations between men and women.

"While women's willingness to hold men accountable for criminal sexual behavior is to be applauded, the scorched-earth approach we are seeing today is destructive because it undermines trust," McAllister wrote in The Federalist.

"When anything from a naive touch during a photo shoot to an innocent attempt at a kiss is compared to rape and sexual abuse, we are not healing society but infecting relationships with the poison of distrust."

[Mar 21, 2018] Who is judging the judges

Mar 21, 2018 |

one of our recommended browsers . Report

Aquinasotic , 30 Mar 2014 04:27

At present there is no way of disciplining a retired judge who trades on his former title of "Judge" and his rank of QC to give advice to lay people (without any up-to-date knowledge of law or professional indemnity insurance) and then speak on their behalf as a McKenzie Friend in Court.

I know of a case where this actually happened - a retired Chancery Circuit Judge intervened in a case involving a religious charity when he has no known connection to the faith in question. His intervention was distinctly unhelpful for the parties and impeded the proper administration of justice. But nothing could be done about his unprofessional and meddling behaviour.

Cynical007 -> JohntheLith , 26 Mar 2014 16:32
Journalists are not state officials, and do not have the power to imprison citizens. There is no right to be a judge (so state regulation of judges is legitimate) whereas there is a right to freedom of speech (so state regulation of journalism is not legitimate).
Cynical007 -> HybridMoments , 26 Mar 2014 16:31

The move to a system of locally elected (ie, accountable) judges is long overdue.

A tribunal consisting of elected politicians is not a real court.

profester , 26 Mar 2014 06:29
Judges are lawyers: a rapacious breed drawn predominantly from and representing the "highest" stratum of society. They are expert at presenting one-sided arguments, whatever the facts and evidence. They provide "blue chip justice" favouring that social segment that can afford to hire lawyers and so keep the legal sector in work. They know how to wear down complainants (often of limited means) with unjustified decisions that have to be appealed at every stage of proceedings. They are assisted by absurb laws which deem them virtually infallible in jurisdictions such as the Employment Tribunal, where it is, in practice, not an "error of law" to find something impossible to be true or to make a finding contrary to the weight of evidence, or without evidential basis (and invariably favouring the employer). Even when an indefatigable complainant succeeds in an appeal against a rotten judgement, they often find their case "remitted" for a rehearing before the same biased tribunal or another made up of the friends and colleagues of the first, and likewise of the employer. Many contributors here, and all employment lawyers, know this to be true, yet this unjust system persists. What criticisms of it there are focus on ultimately minor issues such as whether one should have to pay fees to lodge complaints, rather than the more important issue of its institutional racialism and the virtual impossibility of Black people being successful in complaints against members of the establishment within it.
pictish22 , 25 Mar 2014 21:59
You also need to remember that judges work within a system which is controlled by politics, press start complaining about high number of car thefts, car thieves suddenly start getting jailed while house breakers do not.

There are also other parts of the system for instance social work reports, often made about people who know the systems inside out, know exactly what to say and when to say it. Lawyers who are simply there to lie, on both sides of the case with full knowledge they are doing it. Police who are more concerned about getting results than actually justice. And finally the judges themselves who all appear to have totally different interpretations of the law, I have seen grown men break down when they find out they are getting 1 judge over another and that was just the lawyers.

newthought -> profester , 25 Mar 2014 20:03
Judicial lies are far from confined to racism-motivated instances. The whole system of "justice" is the biggest scam on the planet. That's why they don't allow recording of your own hearing.
newthought -> HybridMoments , 25 Mar 2014 19:56
The judiciary regularly get away with complete and utter cheap lies in their judgments. They are unaccountable as it only takes two more judges to refuse permission to challenge the lies and that's the end of the matter. In one of my cases I asked to audio-record (my own case). Both the judge and government barrister insisted I would not be alllowed to record. The reason for this refusal of recording is so that there is no record of the filthy lies judges deploy in the smaller civil court rooms where there are no reporters. One important subset of lies is about the limitation act. Supposedly fact means possibility, knowledge means suspicion, and was means might be - well that's what high court judges say these words mean, and the fact that loads of dictionaries say otherwise is of no power against them.
We need every litigant to have the right to record their own cases.
Ministryoftruth -> HybridMoments , 25 Mar 2014 19:51
Americans have elected judges. This has not stopped Judicial malfeasance there, it can actually create new forms of it.
Ursultana , 25 Mar 2014 18:34
And perhaps that needs review. After all, they are all members of same brotherhood or society, and all operate from under Londons Bar .So is no independence at all.
Violator -> HybridMoments , 25 Mar 2014 17:21

The move to a system of locally elected (ie, accountable) judges is long overdue.

Good grief! What an appalling idea.

JohntheLith -> Hywelliau , 25 Mar 2014 17:20
Ok, but... The Press "often" have more influence on Society than the Judiciary. Ergo, who needs to watched more?
arvindkc77 , 25 Mar 2014 16:45
My recent experience of JCIO is not entirely sanguine. I represented myself in a child custody case in Birmingham. The Cafcass favored my child to stay with me. The Circuit Judge presiding over the case, lied in his judgment three times in order to favor my ex. When I took the matter to the appeal in High Court, the Law Lord presiding practically said that because the Circuit Judge is experienced, he is entitled to lie. I was quite gobsmacked. JCIO were completely unmoved by my protestations. It is apparent that truth is diminished if you are a layman fighting the excesses of establishment.
whitecross , 25 Mar 2014 14:44
Corruption is the word and has been for some time.
Vizier , 25 Mar 2014 13:56
I have to say I think that most magistrates are firmly in the pockets of the police. So really most of them are corrupt.
Vizier -> theacademic , 25 Mar 2014 13:53
"When normal people face such baseless allegations, the case is struck out, or a responsible prosecutor stops it"

Or rather the ordinary person is found guilty and spends years in prison.

JaniceP , 25 Mar 2014 13:15
The internet is awash with people who have been unfairly treated by the Justice system. Court observers have commented on the familiarity between Judges and business men in employment tribunal cases, and the employee losing, and also losing an appeal. Has anybody ever tried to get an employment judge's notes from the case? Impossible. Ultimately when the judge says the notes are not to be released under any circumstances (why not if they have nothing to hide) and the Trbunal President when asked under a data protection request, tells you that the data controller, is, yes the original judge who won't release them under any circumstances, is it any wonder that people have no faith in the British Justice system, or should we rename it Old Boys Network system?
gogogob , 25 Mar 2014 12:54
It is reassuring to learn that judges get fair hearing. At least somebody does!
Gordon Bell , 25 Mar 2014 12:21
The corrupt protecting the corrupt!
I refer to the Porton Down cover-up that involved the killing of 39 Porton Down veterans who died as a result of being injected with a bacteria derived from salmonella - abortus equi - in an altered state. (source FOI) Upper Tribunal Judge Edward Jacobs (unlike Judge Brian Kennedy QC) who ordered details of the deaths to be made public) did purposely support the MoD by allowing them to keep secret ALL facts related to the killings. Judge Edward Jacobs also ignored a 3.72 million pounds fraudulent payment (stolen from public funds) awarded to Martyn Day Senior Partner with the London law firm Leigh Day & Co. It was Martyn Day who supposedly represented 39 family members of deceased veterans. In effect Jacobs by his very silence and by allowing crimes of this nature to be kept under wraps did himself become party to the crime.
ripteam , 25 Mar 2014 12:16
Was the judge who handed down six months to a student for stealing a water bottle ever investigated for serious misconduct?

theacademic -> Robthablob , 25 Mar 2014 11:56
yes, though that was a later comment.
Robthablob -> theacademic , 25 Mar 2014 11:44
"The comments in this section so far could hardly be more wrong" I don't know, I though Patrick Logicman was spot on with his "But then you couldn't tell them from janitors" remark above.
Hywelliau -> JohntheLith , 25 Mar 2014 11:30
Yes but in the midst of the usual press anarchy, a few wise words from Joshua are surely not out of order?

The predilection of cheap jack town magistrates describing themselves as Judges, takes some beating. The powers of local authorities to press their own non-criminal "charges" can be rather unpleasant, and quite happy to present fictitious evidence in abundance, backed up by such "judges".

ID7776906 -> profester , 25 Mar 2014 11:28
If you review most Laws in Britain,USA Canada,etc they were enacted worded and favored the very rich and property owners when passed. Judge`s hands are really tied to the laws of the land and it is the rich bias and regulations that keep the poor in their place that Judges are restricted by when looking to dispense justice [as far as the law allows].

Same applies to the Police they didn`t make the laws.The Justice system and the Police have been deliberately kept apart from society so they identify more with conservatism and the status quo and even identify with it as elitists.

theacademic -> Ozymandius , 25 Mar 2014 11:27
The difference is that the father needs to be suspended in case the allegations prove to be true, because something important is alleged. Here the allegations against the judges seem to be about nothing - nothing obviously wrong has happened even if the facts are true.
DigitalAsian , 25 Mar 2014 11:19
In my experience of the judiciary in criminal trials is that they do have a tendency to protect the Police and even on the odd occasion pervert the course of justice to protect them. You cannot assume that any judge will be impartial in any case or inquiry especially if police corruption is being investigated or has been alleged. In my view you trust a judge to be independent and impartial at your own risk.
Ozymandius , 25 Mar 2014 10:56
Suspending a judge from duty pending investigation is rather like a judge confining a separated father to a supervised contact centre while his ex's phony allegations are looked into. All rather unnecessary but what do you do?
profester , 25 Mar 2014 10:45
My experience of the judiciary convinces me that it functions principally to protect the establishment. This is perhaps seen most blatantly in the employment tribunal, where judges make virtually unchallengeable findings of "fact" that contradict incontrovertible evidence that they simply ignore in order to exculpate defendants in race and religous discrimination cases. Sometimes they collude with defendants to pervert the course of justice by accepting fabricated documents as genuine, despite the existence of the genuine documents showing their inauthenticity (which they do not mention as they are irreconcilable with the documents that they wish to represent as genuine). Sometimes, they make important findings based on key documents that they have never seen, which the claimant dispute ever existed and the defendants claim they have lost. At other times, the judges just simply lie about the evidence if that is required to discredit the complainant. Such phenomena are well-documented (e.g., However, maybe because sex, drugs and death are not involved - and it only affects Blacks, after all - no-one seems at all interested, no programmes get made about this or articles get written in the mainstream media even when prominent journalists have the evidence of its occurrence.
PatrickLogicman , 25 Mar 2014 10:21
It is a tradition in this country that, freedom of speech notwithstanding, judges do not respond to attacks on them in the media. This means that we often hear the attack, but not the defence. Let me illustrate this with an example from history which shows that judges can be right, even when non-lawyers think they are obviously wrong.

If the media and some members of Parliament had got their own way, Mr. Justice Grantham would have been sacked after instructing a jury in strong terms that a prison warder charged with manslaughter, against whom the evidence of guilt was overwhelming, was nevertheless not guilty. It transpired about two years later that the single prosecution witness had lied: the "victim" was dead before the warder entered the room. I understand that the warder was named Mitchell and, despite being acquitted, did not get his job back.

Had Mr. Justice Grantham been sacked he could not have investigated the Adolph Beck case, the true facts might never have come out and we might still not have a criminal appeals process.

"The credit for resolving this miscarriage of justice lay firstly with the 1904 trial judge, Mr Justice Grantham, who had lingering doubts about Beck's guilt and had delayed concluding the case despite apparently strong prosecution evidence and procedures. It was in this period of delay, before being sentenced, that the crucial arrest of the real offender took place."
Source -

PatrickLogicman -> photonal , 25 Mar 2014 09:42
"The whole judicial system needs an overall."

Each? But then you couldn't tell a judge from a janitor. They tried that in China. It didn't work. Call me old-fashioned, but I rather like the wigs and gowns.


theacademic , 25 Mar 2014 09:38
The comments in this section so far could hardly be more wrong. Perhaps self-regulation does not work for most professions, but in the case of judges it seems to "over-work" and the desire to ensure that judges are seen as people of integrity seems to take over at times. On the basis of JR's article, there seems very clearly to be no substance in the allegations against either Fulford or Thornton. When normal people face such baseless allegations, the case is struck out, or a responsible prosecutor stops it. So the impression here is that the regulator is afraid to be thought to sweeping things under the carpet and so the process continues - and absurdity is piled onto absurdity when the judges are even suspended from work in the meantime.

Turenne and Shetreet's book, referred to in the text, notes instances when judges not only face complaints but actually receive criticism for doing things which others can do and might even be expected to do. For example, it seems that judges should plead guilty to minor traffic offences if they are guilty, and should not seek technical ways that might exist to defeat the charges (ie ways that are not based on the merits of the case). This may be a good idea, of course, but it further ridicules any notion that the regulator is soft.

worksforcommunityorg , 25 Mar 2014 09:23
I have for many decades thought that most judges are daft old fools, out of touch with reality. My opinion has been confirmed by many examples.

I'm not up enough with the law to be able to suggest a better alternative, those who know what they are talking about should do that. However, I was pleased to see the web site linked to in the article , which seems to be a small step in the right direction.

photonal , 25 Mar 2014 09:11
The whole judicial system needs an overall.

Justice and access to it should be a cornerstone of our society - except that in its current form, it is reduced to a cleverly disguised commodity - whereby the 'truth' / 'justice' can be purchased by paying for expensive lawyers.

anusplatt , 25 Mar 2014 08:41
This age old practice of letting "professionals" regulate themselves is thankfully in decline but not quickly enough. They didn't regulate themselves, they protected each other like brothers in crime. Lawyers, police, bankers, religious institutions, doctors banded together to give themselves maximum benefit. And the pompous indignation when Joe Public dared to question them. I have always felt that these groups pulled the wool over our eyes. I laugh at the term "professional" often they are far from it.
JohntheLith , 25 Mar 2014 08:01

Who is judging the judges?
We know a lot more about judicial complaints than we used to but it remains the case that judges themselves judge judges

I find it amusing that a journalist in a National Newspaper is writing an article about a group of self interested people being able to judge themselves.

Who handles complaints about newspapers? I'll give you a clue with a quote fro the Press Complaints Commission's website:

The Press Complaints Commission is currently in a phase of transition; and it will soon be replaced by a new structure of independent self-regulation for the newspaper and magazine industries.

Self-regulation. Sounds a bit like what the judges do.

I smell hypocrisy.

sonofblake , 25 Mar 2014 07:57
One of the key elements of the English judiciary is that it is NOT elected. The executive and legislature are the elected bits and thus the judiciary must defer to them in terms of law-making and keep to their own province of interpreting the law - true it can be a fuzzy line at times but it is a hugely important part of the functioning of the rule of law. Elected judges would be a disaster for many reasons.
HybridMoments , 25 Mar 2014 07:30
What the UK judiciary gets away with is utterly horrifying. That they palm it off as 'isolated cases' is bad enough, but hiding behind the pretence that people 'don't know the facts' is even worse.

The move to a system of locally elected (ie, accountable) judges is long overdue.

[Mar 12, 2018] Intensifying punishments for the general public yet simultaneously nowhere to be found when it comes to prosecuting those who commit crimes involving high level officials corruption and abuse of power, especially by the financial sector

Mar 12, 2018 |

tempestteacup , March 10, 2018 at 7:10 am

It's an unfortunate irony of the times in which we live that politicians are happy to bask in the glory of Law & Order when it comes to intensifying punishments for the general public yet simultaneously nowhere to be found when it comes to prosecuting those who commit crimes involving corruption, fraud or abuse of power. When ratcheting up the incarceration rate among minorities, the poor and those living in the nation's crumbling urban ghettos, they dutifully repeat the same weary, disproved bromides about deterrence while stuffing their campaign coffers with contributions from one of neoliberalism's most amoral sectors: the for-profit carceral state.

Generally, then, I would reject such arguments – higher sentences, mandatory minimums, decreasing the independence of the judiciary to decide on punishments are all failed policies that have, under the aegis of the War on Drugs, left a trail of destruction, generational poverty, and heartbreak. When it comes to white-collar crimes, political corruption and abuse of power, though, I suspect that hefty sentences actually would serve as a deterrent. If the architects of the Global Financial Crisis were currently sitting alongside Bernie Madoff in Butner (or ADX Florence), you suspect it might cause some of their successors to think twice about indulging in the same wanton speculation.

If the ghouls of the DoD, Pentagon and intelligence community had found themselves where they belonged, in the dock, for their gross abuses of power and war crimes following 9/11, one wonders whether the near-equal ghouls of the Sainted Obama's Administration would have drawn up their illegal kill lists or celebrated the flouting of international law with quite such levity.

All of which, of course, means that we won't ever see it happen – but it does make me think that in some cases it is entirely justified to pursue and forcefully punish those who break the law. It's just unfortunate that the ones whose punishment would be most effective in deterring others are the ones who invariably get off scott free.

  1. JEHR

    What I don't understand is how Michael Shkreli, CEO, is found guilty of financial fraud against investors in 2018 but not one CEO of a bank–not Goldman Sachs's CEO, not Citigroup's CEO, not JP Morgan Chase's CEO, not Wells Fargo's CEO and not Lehman Brothers' CEO–was found guilty of committing Accounting Control Fraud and/or mortgage fraud after the Great Financial Crisis of 2007-8. Amazing! But there's not much satisfaction in such a small price to pay for fraud (7 years) that ruins other people's lives permanently. What is also amazing is that it is not illegal to price a drug out of the reach of most users just for the sake of making a huge profit!

    1. perpetualWAR

      Obama said "actions on Wall Street weren't illegal only immoral." And that set the tone. No one was going to be found guilty of unlawful actions ..even though what Wall Street conducted was a racketeering operation.

      1. JBird

        It's not the legality, or even the morality, it's not being blatantly scoffed at.

        Shkreli is a slimy narcissitic toad that used, back stabbed, insulted, and annoyed everyone which is why he got the shiv; just think of the former head of Wells Fargo, Tim Sloan, who did the same and not only to his customers, and low level employees, but also to Congress.

        Who me robbing you? Really, no, I know nothing I see nothing really! Your eyes, they must be lying to you! And you're too stupid to see that!

        That is why they got nailed. People might not like being robbed, but they really don't like being insulted in the doing. Had they done the usual mea culpas, faux apologies, and even token restitution of some kind, one would not be in prison, and the other still CEO.

  1. Andrew Cockburn

    Surely, for the big banks the most significant part of this legislation is the provision allowing them to count municipal bonds as "liquid assets" thus boosting their capital ratio. In reality, of course, these are highly illiquid. Therefore, come the next crash, authorities will be faced with the prospect either of JPM, Citi, etc, attempting to dump said bonds thereby tanking the municipal finance system of the country – unacceptable – or yet again bailing out the banksters to the tune of $trillions. Will the guilty parties be called to account? Don't ask.

[Mar 09, 2018] He said he was in love. She sent him money. Then he disappeared by Lynh Bui

Notable quotes:
"... Judge Paul Grimm called the case a "terrible conspiracy" involving unscrupulous people plucking at lonely victims' heartstrings to get them to send "jaw- droppingly large amounts of money." ..."
"... The pattern to prey on women -- and in a few cases men -- was typically the same. Someone reached out to divorced, widowed or other single people on social media or dating sites to "catfish" the person on the other end by using a fake name and photo identity. ..."
Sep 24, 2017 |

Public Safety

The man who popped into the North Carolina widow's life through Facebook introduced himself as David Watson.

His profile photo, showing a man with dark hair, olive skin and brown eyes, intrigued her enough to accept his friend request. They got to know each other over some weeks via Messenger and phone, eventually sharing romantic correspondence.

Then Watson asked a favor. Some Chinese business people had an oil-rigging job that could net millions for his engineering business, but he needed money for the initial investment. Could she lend him some cash?

Eager to help her new love interest, the widow wrote checks for tens of thousands of dollars.

"She was going to be paid back, she was told," Assistant U.S. Attorney Thomas Windom said. "She was not."

Watson never repaid her because he never existed. The fraudulent profile was part of an elaborate scheme bilking the elderly, divorcées, widows and other vulnerable people out of millions of dollars by posing as romantic interests, federal prosecutors said.

Victim after victim, many in tears, testified through various trials over recent months at U.S. District Court in Greenbelt, Md. They said they lost their life savings, cashed out their retirements, went bankrupt and were scorned by their families after discovering how "foolish" and "gullible" they had been.

Last week, two more people charged in the extravagant hoax were sentenced for their roles in the scam. Olusola Olla, 50, who was found guilty of conspiracy to commit money laundering and structuring financial transactions, must serve four years in prison. Adeyinka Olubunmi Awolaja, 34, who pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit money laundering, was sentenced to three years probation with two years under home monitoring.

Olla, Awolaja and seven others have been convicted or pleaded guilty in connection with the wide-reaching scam that prosecutors say victimized dozens of people across 20 states between 2011 and 2015.

In one extreme case, an elderly man in the last years of his life ate less, stopped going to medical appointments and took out a line of credit on his house to send his love, "Mary Blake," nearly $800,000.

"Mary" kept asking for money to support her construction company.

"My dearest Mary, above all else, I want you to succeed," the man wrote. "When I sent you the $30,000, it cleaned me out."

Judge Paul Grimm called the case a "terrible conspiracy" involving unscrupulous people plucking at lonely victims' heartstrings to get them to send "jaw- droppingly large amounts of money."

"Some of the victims who put money into your account were manipulated by the most cruel means," Grimm said during Olla's sentencing.

The pattern to prey on women -- and in a few cases men -- was typically the same. Someone reached out to divorced, widowed or other single people on social media or dating sites to "catfish" the person on the other end by using a fake name and photo identity.

After a few weeks of chatting, emails professing their love and some telephone calls, the scammer would ask to borrow money under the guise of some type of short-term financial pinch: They were abroad and couldn't access their American bank accounts; had an emergency befall their business and needed quick cash to finish a contract to be paid; or they needed cash to pay travel expenses for a supposed romantic rendezvous with the person being scammed.

Victims would then deposit cash into various accounts, including one for Olla's used-car dealership and a DJ business tied to Awolaja. The money would be transferred to other accounts after being laundered, eventually enriching many in the scheme.

Olla's attorney, Eugene Gorokhov, said his client did not know he was part of a plot cheating vulnerable people. Instead, Olla, who ran an auto sales and shipping business, thought he was receiving cash deposits for work his clients had asked him to do, Gorokhov said.

"Mr. Olla never knew of any fraud scheme," Gorokhov said. "He received the money and all the time he believed he was part of this business where he shipped cars to Nigeria."

Awolaja had gotten involved in the case when he wanted to help a childhood friend from Nigeria who had asked to use his bank account. At his sentencing, Awolaja said he was ashamed someone he considered to be a brother took advantage of him.

"It was never my intent to cause any financial hardship or emotional pain," Awolaja said in court.

But the pain was devastating for those who were desperately lonely and lured by the promise of love and companionship.

"We're going to be together," one of the scammers vowed to the widow he met on

[Mar 08, 2018] Former DOJ lawyer's theft of secret lawsuits was more extensive than previously known, new court details show. - The Washington

Mar 08, 2018 |

Former DOJ lawyer's theft of secret lawsuits was more extensive than previously known, new court details show. - The Washington Post By Spencer S. Hsu By Spencer S. Hsu Email the author Public Safety March 8 at 11:46 AM Email the author

A former corporate-fraud prosecutor carried out the "most serious" example of public corruption by a U.S. Department of Justice attorney in years by stealing more than 40 whistleblower fraud cases in 2016 and trying to sell the secret information to companies under federal investigation, prosecutors said.

The scheme was an attempt to woo potential clients and increase his earnings and standing in his new role as a defense lawyer for one of Washington's most influential law firms, according to prosecutors and admissions by Jeffrey Wertkin at his sentencing Wednesday.

After his arrest for one shakedown attempt, Wertkin embarked on an "obstruction binge" at his private law office to destroy additional evidence of his year-long plot and also tried to frame a former colleague at the Justice Department for the records theft, court files show.

Wertkin's sentencing hearing revealed a more extensive and calculating crime than previously was made public, showing he stole and copied dozens of files -- taking some at night from his boss's desk at main Justice, copying them and returning them re-stapled -- and then reached out to targeted companies in four states to try to drum up business for himself.

An attorney for a California company tipped off the FBI in January 2017 to an approach by Wertkin who had offered to sell a sealed federal lawsuit for $310,000 to the Silicon Valley technology company. "My life is over," Wertkin told an undercover FBI agent after he was arrested wearing a wig and fake mustache at an intended cash drop at a Cupertino, Calif., hotel.

In a court filing seeking leniency, Wertkin said he committed his crimes while on "a terrible path" of abusing alcohol and marijuana during what his defense called "a period of heightened anxiety and depression, a sense of impending failure at work and a deteriorating marriage."

"I believe I somehow viewed selling the complaints as a way to escape my problems,'' Wertkin said in a statement excerpted in a court filing.

Wertkin had joined Akin Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld as a $450,000-a-year partner in Washington in April 2016, the same month in which he left a nearly-six year career in the fraud section of Justice's Civil Division. For more than a month before he moved to private practice, he began copying the federal cases including dozens that were not assigned to him, court files show.

"I thought if I could quickly earn a substantial sum of money, I could provide the material benefits I promised my family upon moving to Akin Gump -- a new house in a better neighborhood and private school'' for his two young children, wrote Wertkin, who court files show lived near Dupont Circle.

Prosecutors said there was no reason to believe Wertkin's troubles were "anything more than narcissism and greed."

He was sentenced to 2-1/2 years in prison on two counts of obstructing justice and one count of interstate transport of stolen property in a hearing late Wednesday before by U.S. District Judge Maxine M. Chesney of San Francisco. Wertkin's attorney had asked for a sentence of a year and a day.

Assistant United States Attorney Robin L. Harris of the Northern District of California told the court Wertkin's crime "was breathtaking in its scope and is the most serious and egregious example of public corruption by a DOJ attorney in recent memory."

[ Lawyer at major D.C. firm accused of scheme to sell sealed lawsuit to suit's target ]

His sentence "hopefully restores the confidence in public servants who take an oath to serve their government and demonstrates that no one is above the law," said the district's Acting U.S. attorney Alex Tse.

A Justice Department spokeswoman did not respond to a request for additional comment on what damage Wertkin may have caused to cases and whether the internal breach triggered disciplinary actions or corrective measures.

Wertkin worked from December 2010 to April 2016 in the department section responsible for recovering $4.7 billion in misspent tax dollars in 2016 alone. Under the False Claims Act, whistleblowers can receive part of recovered funds for tipping off fraud in government services and contracts by filing what are known as qui tam lawsuits under seal to protect their identities while the United States investigates.

Wertkin "took grotesque advantage" of his government position by "shaking down companies" and revealing confidential information and "jeopardized the integrity of the civil justice system and unfairly cast a shadow over the work of the civil fraud section," Harris said.

Wertkin, who specialized in health care fraud, also threatened the recruitment of future whistleblowers, "knowing full well" that the section's success depends on such individuals "coming forward with the prospect of secrecy," she wrote.

[ Ex-Justice Dept. lawyer offered to sell secret U.S. whistleblower lawsuits to targets of the complaints ]

Once at Akin Gump and until he was fired in February 2017, he attempted to court potential clients by dangling the stolen information, even hinting to one unwitting partner he knew one company "might have a problem coming up," prosecutors said.

When that tactic proved ineffective, Wertkin stepped up his crime, admitting that in addition to his pitch to the Sunnyvale-based technology security provider, he tried to peddle sealed lawsuits to a targeted Alabama company for $50,000, to a New York company for a price to be determined, and to a company headquartered in Oregon where he mailed a redacted copy of the cover sheet in the federal case as a lure.

Wertkin also admitted he managed to convince one firm "to retain my services as an attorney to represent it in its lawsuit."

The company that hired him and the companies he solicited were not named in his case.

"Mr. Wertkin's secret criminal life was not known to anyone at the firm. We were shocked when he was arrested and outraged when his bizarre, treacherous crimes were revealed," Akin Gump spokesman Benjamin J. Harris said in a statement Thursday.

In a letter to the court before Wertkin's sentencing, the firm said it was a victim of his crime and defended its corporate culture.

The theft and misuse of government documents was a "reprehensible betrayal of Mr. Wertkin's duties as a government lawyer" and of his ethical duties at Akin Gump, and were "harmful to the firm," partner and general counsel Douglass B. Maynard wrote.

"Whatever drove Mr. Wertkin to his hidden criminal activity, it was not the culture of [sic] firm where he worked for nine months," Maynard said. "The people he worked with at the firm saw him as a talented, well-liked young partner who appeared well on his way to a bright future."

Wertkin, a Haverford College and Georgetown Law School graduate, was seen as a "straight-arrow" and promising young prosecutor at the department, where his "intensity and talent" placed him "at the top of the list for the Fraud Section's most difficult case assignments," defense attorney Cristina C. "Cris" Arguedas said, citing performance reviews in a court filing.

Wertkin's troubles spiraled, she suggested, after a federal judge in Alabama threw out a 2016 jury verdict in a trial for a hospice provider accused of fraudulently billing Medicare for patients who were not terminally ill.

Wertkin was the lead lawyer for the government and the loss in the $200 million case, left him "devastated" and "a shell of a man," his wife, Erin Erlenborn, said in court filings.

Wertkin grew "increasingly irrational," Arguedas said, and his bizarre "cold-call" to the general counsel of the California firm calling himself "Dan" and offering to sell a lawsuit revealed a man who "truly believed he was at the end of his rope."

Wertkin "couldn't stop" even when he knew he would be caught, Arguedas said: Just before he got into an Uber to go to the drop meeting in a hotel lobby, he got a call from a person at the Department of Justice in Alabama investigating "Dan's" attempt to sell a case there.

Upon returning to Washington, he destroyed evidence in his Akin Gump office before telling the firm he had been arrested and placed paper copies of two complaints that he had stolen into an envelope that previously had been mailed to him by a former Justice Department colleague to falsely implicate the colleague as the thief.

His colleague had mailed Wertkin a picture of the department emblem signed by his colleagues as a farewell gift, Harris said. Former DOJ lawyer's theft of secret lawsuits was more extensive than previously known, new court details show. - The Washington Post Wertkin's attorney called his actions truly aberrant in an otherwise "careful, diligent and unblemished life" and said it was "a testament to his previous standing in the legal community that so many attorneys and former government officials, including former DOJ attorneys" wrote letters to the sentencing judge on his behalf.

Wertkin, the son of a surgeon and a registered nurse in the affluent New York City suburbs, has resigned from the bar.

"I hope someday I will be able to understand how I could have abandoned my principles and my honor," Wertkin said as part of statement before sentencing. "I often lay awake at night and think about these actions, and I weep at the tragedy that I have brought on myself."

[Feb 27, 2018] What is a crime and what is not

Espionage would possibly be Steele's indictment. But nobody was 'formally' spying for another country. He was simply fed leaked info and he put it into a document and sent it back. Is that a crime?
Notable quotes:
"... The facts are there but I see this as an incredibly difficult case to prosecute. ..."
Feb 27, 2018 |

EggsX1 , February 25, 2018 at 1:37 pm

The Obama spying is politically terrible but when I consider what is laid out I am not seeing very many crimes that would put people in prison.

This is most likely why this is taking such a long time – and I worry that most if not all conspirators will skate. They will probably be fired and collect their retirement pensions but that may be the end of it.

Though with the next democrat president, they will make sure that all those lose ends that got them caught this time will be perfectly legal. We have only witnessed the beginning of our own homegrown Stazi

phoenixRising , February 25, 2018 at 1:43 pm
You seem to be attempting to lay out a case for the defense a fraudulently constructed one at that

I suggest you take your "probably not a crime" mantras where less intelligent people congregate


Like Liked by 2 people

EggsX1 , February 25, 2018 at 2:00 pm
We have already seen some of their defense through the dem memo. I am outraged at the spying scheme, but you have to recognize that all these people involved are lawyers. They will have made sure to have possible exits when the shtf. There are still plenty of black hats in all our gov bureaus and there will be a constant tit for tat throughout the process. The facts are there but I see this as an incredibly difficult case to prosecute.

Like Like

phoenixRising , February 25, 2018 at 2:06 pm
then try reading the above article and previous ones and there are many cases not simply one again, do your homework.

Like Liked by 2 people

EggsX1 , February 25, 2018 at 2:49 pm
Sundance has summarized the scheme quite nicely. Even so, blog posts are very different than an actual indictment. I suppose there must be more substantial crimes if they have been able to get people to flip – crimes we have not been told (I hope).

You say there are many other cases but fail to name any other crimes that have come to light. You could have enlightened me rather than just make accusations against me and told me to 'do my homework'.

I am simply saying they have created a scheme where it is nebulously legal. They could have just leaked the 702 queries but they laundered it through the PDB. This is all done to make it technically legal.

So far I am only seeing leaking, FISA fraud, and conspiracy/racketeering (which is next to impossible to prove). If there are only indictments along leaking, that would easily be seen as political prosecution (dems live under a different rule book than Trump/GoP being hounded by corrupt prosecutors ala Mueller). The Dem memo is trying to politicize the FISA fraud because they recognize that that is the next closest to an open and shut case.

David A , February 25, 2018 at 3:12 pm
You are forgetting 50 percent of the evidence; not the again Trump evidence, but the for HRC whitewash, or " obstruction of justice".

[Feb 26, 2018] All but the most blatant provably false affidavits, questionable searches are upheld by judges.

Feb 26, 2018 |

jonst -> Boronx... , 26 February 2018 at 09:35 AM

My, street sense, and experience as a lawyer tells me that -- "tips, confessions.." from informants is true Steve. But the bar for going after a drug dealer, or fence, or kiddie porn type, is supposed -- one assumes -- to be a hell of a lot lower than going after the nominee for President of a major political party.
Green Zone Café , 26 February 2018 at 11:11 AM
Welcome to the criminal defense world. Everyday, hundreds of warrants based on the statements of criminals, paid informers, bitter ex-girlfriends, lying cops, and even non-existent "confidential informants" are issued. With all but the most blatant provably false affidavits, questionable searches are upheld by judges.

At this point I'm just waiting for Mueller's final indictments and the report. The facts will be there, or they won't.

If they are, try arguing a Motion to Suppress Evidence in the impeachment trial. That'll get you far . . .

outthere , 26 February 2018 at 04:30 PM
Some commentators here seem not to know this simple fact: prosecutors in USA have enormous power. They can make mountains of molehills. And their most powerful weapon is the law of conspiracy. Here is an explanation by an experienced attorney:

[Feb 25, 2018] The US Prison State - The Globalist

Notable quotes:
"... Sources: Washington Post, Prison Policy Initiative, The Globalist Research Center ..."
Feb 25, 2018 |

. The United States is home to about 25% of the world's total prison population – over 5.5 times its share of the overall world population.

2. The United States incarcerates about 2.3 million people annually, as of 2016.

3. Many millions more pass through the system briefly for minor arrests or dismissed charges, and so on – often having to gather costly cash bail or face jail, even if they are innocent.

4. There are more than 1,700 state prisons, more than 100 federal prisons, more than 900 juvenile facilities and more than 3,100 local jails.

5. There are also a range of specialized short- and long-term holding centers, like military or indigenous prisons and immigrant detention centers.

6. These facilities – whether public or privately-operated – are a major economic hub, especially for jobs, in thousands of communities across the country.

7. That makes it politically difficult to promote detention and sentencing reform policies that would reduce the need for them.

8. Even in public prisons, staff jobs and contracts for food and laundry services become a local revenue stream that discourages reducing incarcerated populations.

9. Beyond the 2.3 million behind bars, there are also 3.7 million Americans on probation outside of jail, with various conditions, and 840,000 on parole.

Sources: Washington Post, Prison Policy Initiative, The Globalist Research Center

[Feb 18, 2018] A Practical Guide to Federal Incarceration (Prison Manual) (A Practical Guide to Federal Incarcerati Michael Bye 978061525807

Feb 18, 2018 |

Most lawyers, consultants and others who write books have never been to prison or either focus on one small area of the federal system. Michael Bye has walked the path before you so he can guide you through it with first hand knowledge and 10 years of experience in all levels of security. No other book is COMPLETELY Comprehensive. Over 450 detailed and easy to read pages of priceless information. Michael Bye served nearly a decade in the FBOP. He served time in all levels of security, from maximum security to minimum-security camps. Michael's extensive research of the federal system provided him with the knowledge to create this manuscript. Throughout his term of incarceration Michael became known as the "Jail House" Litigator.

Helping inmates file appeals, time reductions, medical needs as well as religious rights. This helping hand derived from Michael realizing that most individuals in the Federal System were not evil, scary people.

They were everyday people who lacked education, made a stupid mistake or had plain old bad luck. After years of compiling data, going through hand written notes and interviews Michael created the Practical Guide to Federal Incarceration.

Which will give you the complete knowledge to be able to safely navigate through the system, from Day 1 until the Day you are released, without incident. He also shows the families of men and women entering the Federal System the numerous aspects of the FBOP, as well as coping methods and understanding.

By reading this manual you will develop the tools needed to navigate through your term of Incarceration, create your own destiny and have a smooth transition back into the Free World. Read excerpts...

[Feb 17, 2018] One story I think is very relevant that it not getting nearly enough press is the Cuomo aide corruption trial

Notable quotes:
"... I'm also having a hard time not feeling somewhat sorry for Howe, who is the star witness. He was arrested, again, during the trial. He's been accused of any number of pejoratives, by everyone involved. He also seems to be the only one who has really lost anything -- lots of money and a career. ..."
"... They stole over 100 million dollars. Howe lied about one night at a hotel. Howe gets a jumpsuit. Cuomo is still in his office. The COR execs are still being represented by very high priced lawyers, paid for with millions that were stolen. The press gets lots of clickbait about 'ziti' and the 'fat man', that never, ever really gets anywhere near the people who should most be in jail. They have lawyers, you understand. ..."
"... I grew up in NYS and I still know one of the reporters following the trial. Even for me, the scale of the sleaziness is mindboggling. And the evidence seems quite compelling to me. I mean, the wife had a no-show job, nobody even disputes that! Will be interesting to see if guilty verdicts, if there are any, taint Cuomo. Or change anything. ..."
Feb 17, 2018 |

bob , , February 16, 2018 at 12:05 pm

One story I think is very relevant that it not getting nearly enough press is the Cuomo aide corruption trial.

It is hard to follow. The corruption is so deep and systemic that it's producing its own gravity and realities.

I'm also having a hard time not feeling somewhat sorry for Howe, who is the star witness. He was arrested, again, during the trial. He's been accused of any number of pejoratives, by everyone involved. He also seems to be the only one who has really lost anything -- lots of money and a career.

The rest of the filth are just fine. They were all more than fine to start with, and most of that fine is in no jeopardy of ever being taken away, stolen fine included.

They stole over 100 million dollars. Howe lied about one night at a hotel. Howe gets a jumpsuit. Cuomo is still in his office. The COR execs are still being represented by very high priced lawyers, paid for with millions that were stolen. The press gets lots of clickbait about 'ziti' and the 'fat man', that never, ever really gets anywhere near the people who should most be in jail. They have lawyers, you understand.

bob , , February 16, 2018 at 12:16 pm

Let's go ahead and take a look at where the past winners of NY corruption trials have ended up-

Convicted. Hasn't spent ONE DAY in Jail.

Convicted, hasn't spent ONE DAY in jail.

Both are still very wealthy, also. As if that were ever going to change.

Left in Wisconsin , , February 16, 2018 at 2:45 pm

I grew up in NYS and I still know one of the reporters following the trial. Even for me, the scale of the sleaziness is mindboggling. And the evidence seems quite compelling to me. I mean, the wife had a no-show job, nobody even disputes that! Will be interesting to see if guilty verdicts, if there are any, taint Cuomo. Or change anything.

[Feb 17, 2018] The lawyer bubble pops -- not a moment too soon by Jeff Jacoby

Notable quotes:
"... Jeff Jacoby can be reached at . Follow him on Twitter @jeff_jacoby . ..."
Feb 17, 2018 |

May 09, 2014

Is America's lawyer bubble getting ready to pop?

Critics have long bewailed our national glut of lawyers, to little effect. Chief Justice Warren Burger predicted 35 years ago that America was turning into "a society overrun by hordes of lawyers, hungry as locusts." At the time, the population of attorneys in the United States had surpassed 450,000, and law schools were graduating 34,000 new ones each year. By 2011, the annual production of law degrees was up to 44,000, and at 1.22 million, the number of lawyers in the country -- which included me -- had nearly tripled. Over the same period, the population of the United States had risen just 40 percent .

But the wind has changed. In 2011, the number of students entering law school dropped by 7 percent, an unprecedented fall. In 2012, the drop accelerated: Enrollment of first-year law students sank another 8.6 percent. It plunged still further in 2013 . According to the American Bar Association, 39,675 new law students matriculated last fall -- an 11 percent decrease from 2012, to a low-water mark not seen since early in the Carter administration.

Much of the flight from law school reflects the brutal reality of the employment market for lawyers. The National Association for Law Placement reports that fewer than half of lawyers graduating in 2011 eventually landed jobs in a law firm. Only 65 percent found positions requiring passage of the bar exam. At a time when many law school graduates are shouldering student-loan debts of $125,000 or more, compensation has declined painfully -- the median starting salary for new lawyers in 2012 was just $61,000 . And quite a few can't find any work at all : Nine months after receiving their law degrees, 11.2 percent of the class of 2013 was unemployed.

But the wind has changed. In 2011, the number of students entering law school dropped by 7 percent, an unprecedented fall. In 2012, the drop accelerated: Enrollment of first-year law students sank another 8.6 percent. It plunged still further in 2013 . According to the American Bar Association, 39,675 new law students matriculated last fall -- an 11 percent decrease from 2012, to a low-water mark not seen since early in the Carter administration.

Much of the flight from law school reflects the brutal reality of the employment market for lawyers. The National Association for Law Placement reports that fewer than half of lawyers graduating in 2011 eventually landed jobs in a law firm. Only 65 percent found positions requiring passage of the bar exam. At a time when many law school graduates are shouldering student-loan debts of $125,000 or more, compensation has declined painfully -- the median starting salary for new lawyers in 2012 was just $61,000 . And quite a few can't find any work at all : Nine months after receiving their law degrees, 11.2 percent of the class of 2013 was unemployed.

Only some of this is cyclical. The legal profession, like so many others, has been permanently disrupted by the Internet and globalization in ways few could have anticipated 10 or 15 years ago. Online legal guidance is widely accessible. Commercial services like LegalZoom make it easy to create documents without paying attorneys' fees. Search engines for legal professionals reduce the need for paralegals and junior lawyers. Maurice Allen, a senior partner at Ropes & Gray, is blunt : "There are too many lawyers and too many law firms," he said in a published interview last week. That means less work for new law school grads, and therefore less reason to go to law school.

And who, except perhaps for law school admissions deans, would be sorry to see America's lawyer bubble finally burst?

With almost 1.3 million lawyers -- more by far than any other country, and more as a percentage of the national population than almost all others -- the United States is choking on litigation, regulation, and disputation. Everything is grist for the lawyers' mills. Anyone can be sued for anything, no matter how absurd or egregious. And everyone knows how expensive and overwhelming a legal assault can be. The rule of law is essential to a free and orderly society, but too much law and lawyering makes democratic self-rule impossible, and common sense legally precarious.

Scarcely a day goes by without a fresh example of the damage caused by a legal system that so often puts the innocent at the mercy of the spiteful. To avoid legal liability, companies and institutions must comply with brain-numbing regulations and restrictions that destroy initiative, smother good ideas, and force grotesque results that benefit no one.

Because it is so overlawyered, "American culture is corroding before our eyes," writes Philip K. Howard, a big-firm lawyer and well-known reform advocate, in " The Rule of Nobody ," his new book. "It would have been inconceivable, a few years ago, for a teacher to be scared to put an arm around a crying child, or for a fireman to stand on the beach for an hour and watch a man drown because he had not been recertified for land-based rescue. Creeping legalisms are eating away at America's social capital."

From environmental rules so inflexible that fixing a bridge can take years to licensing rules so onerous that kids' lemonade stands get shut down, all of us are paying for those "hordes of lawyers, hungry as locusts," that Warren Burger warned of long ago. Students by the thousands are shunning law school? That's the best trend I've seen in ages.

Jeff Jacoby can be reached at . Follow him on Twitter @jeff_jacoby . Show 48 Comments 48 Comments

[Feb 16, 2018] There is a problem with Grand Jurie

Feb 16, 2018 |

Don Bacon | Feb 16, 2018 6:03:33 PM | 45

There is a problem with Grand Juries:

>Though the grand jury has existed in the United States since the colonial period, and the FIFTH AMENDMENT to the U.S. Constitution requires its use in federal criminal proceedings, it has come under increasing attack. Critics charge that it no longer serves the functions the Framers intended, and therefore should be abolished. Defenders admit there may be some problems with it today, but contend that these can be remedied.

>In reviewing evidence of criminal wrongdoing, a grand jury is supposed to act as a shield against ill-conceived or malicious prosecutions. Yet critics charge that grand juries typically rubber-stamp the prosecution's moves, indicting anyone the prosecutor cares to bring before it.

>Those who favor ABOLITION of the grand jury argue that the domination of the prosecutor has led to a passivity that destroys the legitimacy of the grand jury concept. Most grand jurors have little background in law and must rely on the prosecutor to educate them about the applicable law and help them apply the law. In addition, at the federal level, there are very complex criminal laws, like the RACKETEER Influenced and Corrupt Organizations statute. Even lawyers find many of these laws difficult to fathom, yet grand jurors are expected to understand them and apply them to intricate fact situations. Not surprisingly, charge the critics, the grand jury tends to follow the prosecution's advice.. . . here

Probably in this case the jurors were given the "trust us, we know and have decided" treatment that has worked so well on many other people who should know better, and probably do, but they have been corrupted too. Without a trial, we'll never get the truth, but that's nothing new.

[Jan 27, 2018] Advice about how testify not reveling self-incriminating details

Jan 27, 2018 |

The Alarmist , January 26, 2018 at 10:28 am GMT

Police officer: "Do you know why I pulled you over?"

Respondent: "No."

Police officer: "Do you know how fast you were going?"

Respondent: "Yes"

Police officer: "How fast were you going?"

Respondent: "You tell me."

Police officer: "Are you some kind of wise guy?"

Respondent: "No."

Police officer: "We can do this the easy way or we can do this the hard way!"

Respondent: "Sir/Maam, if you believe I was doing something wrong, just tell me what it is. If you want to cite me, give me a ticket. I don't want to argue with you here, I'll take it up with the prosecutor in court with all the evidence on the table."

You would be surprised how many speeding tickets I've avoided or had kicked or knocked down with that sort of exchange.


The Alarmist , January 26, 2018 at 10:48 am GMT

Mueller: "Did you fire James Comey?"

Trump: "Yes."

Mueller: "Why?"

Trump: "It is within my Constitutional prerogatives to terminate officers who serve under me."

Mueller: "What were the grounds for the termination?"

Trump: "Asked and answered."

[Lather, rinse, repeat]

Mueller: "What is the nature of your contacts with Russian nationals or the Russian Government?"

Trump: "What contact? Do you have any specific contact in mind?"

Mueller: "Your meeting with X on [date]."

Trump: "Before I answer that, can you tell me and my counsel for the record how you were made aware of that?"

[Oct 09, 2017] Martin Shkreli Doing Fine In Prison The Daily Caller

Notable quotes:
"... The 34-year-old is spending his time mentoring fellow inmates, reading, playing chess -- and learning to deal with sharing a small, cramped cell with a snoring roommate, pal Lisa Whisnant told The Post. ..."
"... "Things are not THAT awful here," inmate 87850-053 wrote to Whisnant, underlining "THAT" three times. "There are some bright sides. I am teaching these prisoners some new things and hopefully some ways to change their lives." ..."
"... "He seems to be handling it with typical Shkreli style," she said. "He brings people together and shares his knowledge. Martin was meant to be a teacher. He loves it. He's a natural." ..."
Oct 09, 2017 |

Martin Shkreli doesn't sound like he's having a very bad time in prison.

"Pharma Bro" is fitting in well and educating his fellow inmates, according to the New York Post .

The Post reported in part:

The 34-year-old is spending his time mentoring fellow inmates, reading, playing chess -- and learning to deal with sharing a small, cramped cell with a snoring roommate, pal Lisa Whisnant told The Post.

"Things are not THAT awful here," inmate 87850-053 wrote to Whisnant, underlining "THAT" three times. "There are some bright sides. I am teaching these prisoners some new things and hopefully some ways to change their lives."

"He seems to be handling it with typical Shkreli style," she said. "He brings people together and shares his knowledge. Martin was meant to be a teacher. He loves it. He's a natural."

Of course Martin Shkreli is becoming the leader of the prison population. I wouldn't have expected anything else.

The man is a natural born dealmaker and all-time schmoozer. I don't know Martin well at all. I've had a few beers with him on different occasions. He's an interesting guy. Not an evil guy by any measure, but he does seem to enjoy his online persona.

It's also not surprising to me because anybody who talks to him know he's very charismatic. I'm glad to see Martin is finding his lane in prison, and running the whole prison crew. Classic Shkreli move.

[Jul 31, 2017] July 30, 2017 at 8:09 pm

Jul 31, 2017 |


saskydisc , July 30, 2017 at 8:29 pm

If it comes to the point where you must leave, consider patreon or similar, as that way you can afford to be in the clear regarding court orders, as appeals work their way through the legal system, e.g. temporarily leaving.
niku , July 30, 2017 at 8:45 pm
I have never been to a court, but based on what I know, a few suggestions:

(i) Try to differentiate yourself from most of the other cases that judge would get to see (i.e., from the Central Asian migrants). Dress, attention to etiquette, keeping calm, friendly and even self-confident (suggesting that you have the means to bear an adverse decision). Point out that you know excellent English, Russian and German, and perhaps other things ! essentially, that you are not an "unskilled labourer". Impress on the judge that Russia benefits from your presence in the country ! without saying this.

Also, do not get embarrassed by doing "non-standard things" like the above! If you go the standard way, the judgement would be the standard judgement ! and you want a better-than-standard judgement!

(ii) Write down all the points you wish to make, in the order of importance, and read it out to the judge right in the beginning. You probably can sign the sheet and submit it to the judge after you have spoken. Think of it as a presentation you are making, where the written sheet would be like slides. (If you submit the sheet before you have spoken, the judge won't even listen to you, as he/she would be busy reading!) Similarly, if you repeat your points, the judge will "tune out".

Submit a summary (a cover sheet) and other sheets with explanations. Do all this even if nobody asks you to! The last point could be that you are sorry about the mistake.

(iii) People also tune out at the sight of misery. Do not appear miserable!

niku , July 30, 2017 at 8:52 pm
Court Etiquette:

Also, since you are not a lawyer, a way to make it clear to the judge (and keep the point in front of him/her all the time), is to address the judge as Sir/Madam and not 'Your Honour'. (Or the Russian equivalents.)

Since you are probably in panic and probably can't clearly think: keep everything ready, including what you will say, and in what order you will say them! You would have only a little time, and there would be no time to think then !

niku , July 30, 2017 at 10:20 pm
Lawyers and judges understand (at least good lawyers and judges are supposed to understand!), that the law is best applicable for only a particular set of cases. ...

As long as you make it clear that the above class of cases, and in consequence the above law, does not cover your case, the judges should be considerate. It says so in the book! Please don't worry much.

[Jun 23, 2017] Mass Incarceration s Dangerous New Equilibrium by Peter Temin

Notable quotes:
"... even if drugs were legalized – the same people would be in jail for something else. ..."
"... Minority Heroin dealers are given intolerable sentences, but Perdue Pharmaceuticals floods the market with opiates with an ever increasing death toll, yet Raymond and Mortimer Sackler are billionaires. Go figure. ..."
"... Police and prison guards' unions = sweet spot of the Dem base (particularly in California) ..."
"... "But terror can be very efficient against a reactionary class which does not want to leave the scene of operations. Intimidation is a powerful weapon of policy, both internationally and internally. War, like revolution, is founded upon intimidation. A victorious war, generally speaking, destroys only an insignificant part of the conquered army, intimidating the remainder and breaking their will. The revolution works in the same way: it kills individuals, and intimidates thousands." Leon Trotsky, 1920 ..."
Jun 23, 2017 |
By Peter Temin, Elisha Gray II Professor Emeritus of Economics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Originally published at the Institute for New Economic Thinking website

Mass incarceration in the United States has mushroomed to the point where we look more like the authoritarian regimes of Eastern Europe and the Middle East than the democracies of Western Europe. Yet it vanished from political discussions in campaigns in the 2016 election. In a new INET Working Paper , I describe in detail how the US arrived at this point. Drawing on a new model that synthesizes recent research, I demonstrate how the recent stability in the number of American prisoners indicates that we have settled into a new equilibrium of mass incarceration. I explain why it will hard to dislodge ourselves from this damaging and shameful status quo.

Mass incarceration started from Nixon's War on Drugs, in a process described vividly by John Ehrlichman, Nixon's domestic-policy adviser, in 1994:

The Nixon campaign in 1968, and the Nixon White House after that, had two enemies: the antiwar left and black people. You understand what I'm saying? We knew we couldn't make it illegal to be either against the war or black, but by getting the public to associate the hippies with marijuana and blacks with heroin, and then criminalizing both heavily, we could disrupt those communities. We could arrest their leaders, raid their homes, break up their meetings, and vilify them night after night on the evening news. Did we know we were lying about the drugs? Of course we did.

This was the origin of mass incarceration in the United States, which has been directed at African Americans from Nixon's time to today, when one third of black men go to prison (Bonczar, 2003; Baum, 2016; Alexander, 2010).

Federal laws were expanded in state laws that ranged from three-strike laws to harsh penalties for possession of small amounts of marijuana. The laws also shifted the judicial process from judges to prosecutors, from the courtroom to offices where prosecutors pressure accused people to plea-bargain. The threat of harsh minimum sentences gives prosecutors the option of reducing the charge to a lesser one if the accused is reluctant to languish in jail awaiting trial-if he or she is unable to make bail-and then face the possibility of long years in prison. And the shift of power was eased by the pattern of financing. Prosecutors are paid by localities, while the costs of prisons are borne by states. The trip to the penitentiary does not cost prosecutor at all. "Instead of juries and trial judges deciding whether this or that defendant merits punishing, prosecutors decide who deserves a trip to the nearest penitentiary (Stuntz, 2011, 286; Pfaff, 2017, 127)."

In a recent book, Pfaff minimized the role of drug laws in mass incarceration on the grounds that most state prisoners were convicted of violent crimes; only federal prisoners were predominantly convicted of drug violations. But the importance of public prosecutors and plea bargains contaminates this inference because the listed crimes in state prisons were produced in plea bargains. Since drug laws contain so many minimum sentences, plea bargains were driven toward lesser charges that did not fall under the drug laws. The results of the plea bargains do not indicate why prisoners were originally arrested and charged (Pfaff, 2017).

Both political parties were engaged at different times in legislation that gave rise to mass incarceration. It would seem likely that they could get together to try to reduce the rate of incarceration, but the prospects are not good in our current political impasse. The reduction of incarceration always has some risks, and political figures are very risk averse. Some people want to reduce the cost of prisons to help fund other government programs, but they have not produced many proposals to accomplish this goal or how to allocate the gains.

As Todd Clear stated in his 2007 book, Imprisoning Communities: How Mass Incarceration Makes Disadvantaged Neighborhoods Worse :

Imprisonment in America is concentrated among young, poor-dominantly minority-men and (to a lesser extent) women who come from impoverished communities. The way these young people cycle through our system of prisons and jails, then back into the community, leaves considerable collateral damage in its wake. Families are disrupted, social networks and other forms of social support are weakened, health is endangered, labor markets are thinned, and-more important than anything else-children are put at risk of the depleted human and social capital that promotes delinquency. After a certain point, the collateral effects of these high rates of incarceration seem to contribute to more crime in these places. Crime fuels a public call for ever-tougher responses to crime. The increasing way in which the face of criminality is the face of person of color contributes to an unarticulated public sense that race and crime are closely linked. The politics of race and justice coexist malignantly, sustaining an ever-growing policy base that guarantees new supplies of penal subjects in a self-sustaining and self-justifying manner (Clear, 2007, 175).

We seem to be in a new equilibrium. It took forty years to get to this point, and it may take at least that long to get back to what we can consider a normal incarceration rate typical of advanced economies. We have not yet started down that road.

See original post for references

paul , June 23, 2017 at 7:01 am

Anyone who thinks it will take 40 years to undo a stroke of the pen, which the war on drugs was, is pissing (in a humanitarian direction) into the wind.

Removing the prison population would give janet yelllen an enormous migraine.


funemployed , June 23, 2017 at 7:25 am

I'd add that the distinction between violent crime and drug violations misses the mark in another way too. The massive scale of the US black market, the cruelty of life in US prisons, the massive distrust and animosity between law enforcement and many communities, the disruption caused to families and communities by mass incarceration, and our high rate of violent crimes are hardly unrelated phenomena.

I'd wager decriminalization of drugs would lead to a pretty large decrease in supposedly unrelated violent crimes.

QuarterBack , June 23, 2017 at 7:40 am

True enough, but I'm sure the Prison Industrial Complex loves the idea of long term studies on impact followed by long term debates on methodology and findings. IMO, it is the monopolistic profitability of corporations like UNICOR that split their profits and governance with the very same people who control the mass incarceration and competitive bidding laws and policies, that far outweigh any other factor. Without substantial changes to the monetization and conflict of interest laws at the top, all the findings in the world are just noise to the entrenched system.

Consider this 2003 Fortune article Business Behind Bars Former Reagan Attorney General Ed Meese has a way to slow the exodus of jobs overseas: Put prisoners to work

Prominent conservatives have been encouraging prisons to put inmates to work for years. Led by Edwin Meese, the former U.S. Attorney General and head of the Heritage Foundation, and Morgan Reynolds, one of the first President Bush's economic advisors, they have lobbied for real prison employment by the private sector–not just make-work projects like stamping license plates or building courthouse furniture. The benefits are difficult to ignore: Businesses get cheap, reliable workers; inmates receive valuable job training and earn more than they would in traditional prison jobs; and the government offsets the cost of incarceration and keeps jobs and tax dollars in the U.S.

Who do you think legislators are going to take their guidance from? Former AGs (who just happened to build and grow the prison workforce), or scholarly studies?

TheCatSaid , June 23, 2017 at 7:42 am

Social engineering described in this post was also a continuation of corporate / elite commercial interes. Free labor–what's not to like? Legal slavery, more profits from multiple directions of all kinds–legit, corrupt and criminal. Plus serving as a method to keep the downtrodden unable to respond in a way to create change (COINTELPRO and its contemporary descendants). . .

No way out but through but what will that look like? Comes down to individual understanding and action, no single uniform "solution". I gradually become more conscious of what I create. It's not a process that can be urged on others. "Be the change . . ."

cnchal , June 23, 2017 at 8:04 am

. . . The politics of race and justice coexist malignantly, sustaining an ever-growing policy base that guarantees new supplies of penal subjects in a self-sustaining and self-justifying manner (Clear, 2007, 175).

I am pissed at Ford. What a golden opportunity missed. Instead of moving Ford Fusion production to China, it could move production to a few prisons and use homegrown slaves instead of Chinese ones.

David , June 23, 2017 at 9:39 am

"The increasing way in which the face of criminality is the face of person of color contributes to an unarticulated public sense that race and crime are closely linked."

so no drug laws means no black inmates?

even if drugs were legalized – the same people would be in jail for something else.

There are no jobs – 40%+ UE Rate for this demographic – so what do you expect them to do?

Eric Gardner was selling cigarettes "for money" – joke crime – yet five cops descended on him.

cnchal , June 23, 2017 at 9:50 am

> so what do you expect them to do?

Globalization is a disaster wherever you care to look.

HotFlash , June 23, 2017 at 11:02 am

even if drugs were legalized – the same people would be in jail for something else.

I have read your comment 4 times, so far, and still cannot see how you can say this. Pls explain.

kurtismayfield , June 23, 2017 at 11:38 am

The reason why the people are getting arrested and jailed for drug crimes is poverty. These people lack the economic opportunity to bring them out of it, so they drift to illegal enterprises. Even if you made all drug use and distribution/sales legal, this does not change the economic realities that make people choose an illicit activity in the first place. So they would be arrested for something else that is illegal.

Michael Fiorillo , June 23, 2017 at 12:26 pm

If there's the political will and power to repeal abusive drug laws, why wouldn't it be (theoretically) possible to do the same with laws that target the poor?

When I was growing up in the "bad old days" of '70's NYC, police officers would have rightfully laughed in the face of of a superior or elected official who told them to go after people selling "loosies" (a la Eric Garner).

I'm not saying it will happen, but popular revolts could go a long way toward loosening the vise on poor communities.

Ptolemy Philopater , June 23, 2017 at 3:49 pm

Recreational Cannabis is legal in Colorado. It is a state granted monopoly. Already Colorado is cracking down on home grown weed production. There is legalization, and there is state granted monopoly legalization. The outcome for poor people is the same. Cigarettes are legal, yet Eric Gardner was murdered for selling them. Go figure.

Minority Heroin dealers are given intolerable sentences, but Perdue Pharmaceuticals floods the market with opiates with an ever increasing death toll, yet Raymond and Mortimer Sackler are billionaires. Go figure.

We live in a mafia culture. It's called ethnic privilege. Drugs are already legalized for the ethnically privileged. Mass incarceration, Genocide by Other Means, for the ethnically unprivileged. Go figure!

Disturbed Voter , June 23, 2017 at 12:22 pm

Unfortunately it take an outbreak of Black Death to make labor more valuable ;-(

Allegorio , June 23, 2017 at 3:51 pm

Or a revolution. Talk is cheap, action is not.

Kevin Horlock , June 23, 2017 at 12:40 pm

Police and prison guards' unions = sweet spot of the Dem base (particularly in California)

"Law and order" and disproportional impact on minorities = sweet spot of the Rethuglican base.

To me, all analyses of this issue pretty well begins right there.

clarky90 , June 23, 2017 at 6:31 pm

I believe that we, the 80% , are being classed as the present day, Neo-Peasants and Neo-Kulaks. (Hillbillies, working class, uneducated, not woke, Nazis, deplorables, reactionaries, homeless, right-wing, religious bigots, addicts, petty criminals, progressives, Bernie-bros, conspiracy nuts ..) by the Neo-Apparatchiks.

There is a Revolution going on! It is being waged against us .


"During 1920–50, the leaders of the Communist Party considered repression to be a tool that was to be used for securing the normal functioning of the Soviet state system, as well as for preserving and strengthening their positions within their social base, the (The 20%) Working Class. (The Bolshevik Leadership were not really "working class", but usually, "Intellectuals"!) ( peasants , who were NOT considered "working class", represented 80%!!!! of the USSR population then ).

The GULAG system was introduced in order to isolate and eliminate class-alien, socially dangerous, disruptive, suspicious, and other disloyal elements, whose deeds and thoughts were not contributing to the strengthening of the dictatorship of the proletariat. Forced labor (was used) as a "method of reeducation" ."

Terrorism and Communism: A Reply to Karl Kautsky

"But terror can be very efficient against a reactionary class which does not want to leave the scene of operations. Intimidation is a powerful weapon of policy, both internationally and internally. War, like revolution, is founded upon intimidation. A victorious war, generally speaking, destroys only an insignificant part of the conquered army, intimidating the remainder and breaking their will. The revolution works in the same way: it kills individuals, and intimidates thousands." Leon Trotsky, 1920

[May 16, 2017] The Hidden Realities of U.S. Incarceration The American Conservative by By Robert VerBruggen

The review of: Locked In: The True Causes of Mass Incarceration and How to Achieve Real Reform , John Pfaff, Basic Books, 272 pages
Notable quotes:
"... About 2.4 million people live behind bars in America - the highest number in the world. That's a little more than 0.7% of the population and more than 700 for every 100,000 people. The area of the U.S. is bigger than China, a country that dwarfs the U.S. general population by more than four times. Also note how tiny Canada looks next to the U.S. ..."
"... As a former prosecutor we had a grotesquely unfair advantage It was policy to charge someone with the highest possible charge, knowing that we would plead to something much lower. It was even added to the jacket by screening DA's what was recommended to accept. ..."
"... About this quote I pulled here. What you are talking about is called "charge stacking," and prosecutors do it because they can strong arm everyone into a conviction, then they can build political careers on. Oftentimes, they go to run for AG offices based on their stellar records that the public is duped into thinking actually means something. ..."
May 16, 2017 |
When it comes to America's high incarceration rate-now about five times what it was in 1970-there's the Standard Story, and then there's the truth.

The Standard Story is the one that has been propagated for years in mainstream-media outlets and by activists. It holds that the War on Drugs is virtually the sole culprit-that incarceration rose merely because America decided to start imprisoning nonviolent, low-level drug offenders for absurd amounts of time. It posits the simple solution of reducing or eliminating the sentences for these victimless crimes.

The truth, by contrast, is that about half of prisoners were convicted of violent offenses, and that some of the others committed violence but pleaded guilty to lesser offenses. Even the fifth of prisoners who are locked up for drugs tend to be mid-level dealers, not users or low-level distributors. And, while decades-long sentences make the news, most prisoners who committed crimes not involving the most serious violence are out within a year or two. In other words, while incarceration has undoubtedly soared-even relative to crime , which has dropped substantially since the early 1990s-our propensity to throw people in prison has simply not reached the heights of ridiculousness that many assume.

There is still "low-hanging fruit" to be had by releasing some drug offenders or subtly redefining crimes (such as changing the dollar-value threshold separating misdemeanor from felony theft), but this will not get America anywhere near the incarceration rate it had decades ago or the rates that prevail elsewhere in the developed world. Bigger reductions would require speeding the release-or declining to imprison-people who committed crimes that left very real victims, which is not so obviously a desirable outcome.

Until recently, few were discussing this reality aside from a handful of conservative commentators such as the Manhattan Institute's Heather Mac Donald . These people typically argued that those in prison mostly deserve to be there, and that dramatic reductions to the incarceration rate run an intolerably high risk of increasing crime. But in the last several years a number of reform-minded scholars and pundits have tried to make a public case for such reductions even in full view of the facts.

The latest entry in this literature is John Pfaff's Locked In: The True Causes of Mass Incarceration and How to Achieve Real Reform . It is an excellent overview of where America stands in regard to its prisons, and Pfaff's proposed reforms deserve serious consideration across the political spectrum.

The role of the drug war isn't the only issue on which Pfaff departs from the Standard Story. He also disputes the idea that the typical prisoner is spending much more time behind bars than he used to. In Pfaff's view, the reason for our skyrocketing incarceration rate is that prosecutors have become more likely to file felony charges following an arrest, rather than that those convicted are being locked up for longer periods of time.

This is considerably more contentious among those who study imprisonment; unlike the percentage of prisoners serving time for drugs, it's not something one can simply look up in a Justice Department report. Pfaff is at odds with the prestigious National Academy of Sciences , for instance, when he all but dismisses the role of time served. The debate involves competing data sources and intricate mathematical simulations.

But if prosecutors might not be the sole driver of mass incarceration, no one denies that they are a big one. And Pfaff expertly lays out how this happened so that we can see if it's a process we can live with.

As is well-known, the crime explosion of the late 1960s through the early '90s inspired lawmakers to adopt a get-tough approach, and this entailed reining in judges, for instance through mandatory-minimum laws. The concept is not inherently flawed: there are unique factors at play in each case, but in general, people who commit the same crime should receive similar punishments. The punishment should depend on the law, not the judge's personal sense of justice or his like or dislike of the defendant. But there were two problems with these laws as they actually played out.

First, especially at the federal level, many minimums are so high that no one really thinks they're fair and people are rarely sentenced to them. Instead, prosecutors use them as a threat to get defendants to plead guilty to lesser charges or testify against fellow criminals. (About 95 percent of cases end in plea deals rather than trials today.) In other words, they operate as a roundabout way to gut defendants' constitutional rights: if you make the prosecution prove its case at trial and invoke your right to remain silent about criminal activities you participated in, you receive a patently unfair sentence . Incredibly, the federal prosecutors' lobby has defended the current mandatory minimums explicitly on these grounds .

Second, and relatedly, the minimums didn't eliminate discretion from the system: prosecutors still have plenty. A prosecutor often can decide how much time a defendant should serve and then put together a mix of charges that will require the judge to give a sentence in that ballpark. The law can offer an impressive buffet of overlapping statutes that cover the conduct a defendant is accused of.

And in addition to holding enormous discretion, prosecutors face a number of incentives that are far from ideal. District attorneys are typically elected and want to avoid going easy on a Willie Horton or a Brock Turner. The elections are county-wide, giving conservative suburban areas a lot of say as to how high crime in inner cities is handled, even though suburbanites bear little of the cost of crime or of incarceration. Prosecutors also face little resistance, because judges normally accept plea deals and most defendants rely on public defenders, which are underfunded. In 43 states defendants have to pay at least some of the costs associated with their "state-provided" lawyer.

Moreover, what we call "the justice system" is really a haphazard mashup of city, county, state, and federal agencies. Federal prisons receive a lot of attention but hold just 13 percent of prisoners. In the states, meanwhile, counties generally pay for probation and short jail stays while the state pays for the cost of imprisonment-creating an incentive for prosecutors to overuse the latter.

Reading Pfaff's characterization of who's serving how much time in prison these days-mainly violent offenders, mainly short sentences-one is tempted to wonder what the big deal is. Maybe we should just content ourselves with picking the "low-hanging fruit." Yet it's hard to accept our sky-high incarceration rate knowing it's produced by the dysfunctional system Pfaff describes. Realigning the incentives in that system would be a worthwhile endeavor whether it cut incarceration or not.

Conservatives intuitively understood the need to rein in judges' discretion decades ago; perhaps the same thing could be done for prosecutors today. Pfaff notes that New Jersey has given its prosecutors detailed guidelines as to the plea deals they are allowed to strike, with judges able to invalidate any deals that break the rules; they "look almost exactly like the guidelines that many states use to regulate judicial sentencing." This is a promising idea, though the guidelines would have to be written carefully to avoid unintended results. (The New Jersey guidelines initially made it hard for urban prosecutors to give lighter sentences in "school zone" cases, for example, which was a problem because 76 percent of Newark is considered a school zone.)

Other options: cut mandatory sentences to reduce the threats prosecutors can make to extract plea deals; require prosecutors to disclose the threats they made so that judges can review them; balance out the incentives facing county prosecutors by paying counties to keep people out of state prison; appoint prosecutors instead of electing them; let cities and suburbs choose their prosecutors separately; fund public defenders adequately. Each of these moves would align incentives in a sensible way rather than seeking to cut incarceration per se.

And on a deeper level Pfaff prompts us to consider more carefully the exact tradeoffs we're willing to make between incarceration and crime. One study, for instance, found that between 1978 and 1990, locking up an extra person for a year stopped 2.5 violent crimes and 11.4 property crimes. Thanks to diminishing marginal returns, those numbers fell to 0.3 and 2.7 respectively in the 1991–2004 period. Are the latter numbers worthwhile given the cost to taxpayers, and to offenders and their families? Is the payoff even lower today? And what if, for a given amount of money, you could reduce crime 20 percent more by hiring more cops than by incarcerating more offenders, as a different study contended?

For these reasons, Pfaff suggests we reject the assumption that reforms are worthwhile only if they don't increase crime at all. It's a point worth taking to heart as one considers some of Pfaff's other reforms, the ones more directly targeted at reducing incarceration.

Risk-assessment tools are one promising development. Modern statistics allow us to calculate the chances that a given prisoner will reoffend with a reasonable degree of accuracy, based on various characteristics. There are legitimate complaints about these tools (though Pfaff takes too seriously an allegation of racial bias by the journalism outfit ProPublica), but they hold out the promise of focusing incarceration on the people who really need to be locked up lest they continue to offend. They are a dramatic improvement over the older, cruder tools like "three strikes" laws.

In a somewhat similar vein, pilot programs could experiment with releasing offenders and closely monitoring them, like the Hawaii HOPE program does for drug offenders, giving them repeated drug tests and a "swift, certain, and fair" jail stay for minor lapses.

Not all of the ideas Pfaff explores are home runs; I have trouble imagining an American state in which there's a "cap-and-trade" system for prison capacity. But in general, these are far more serious and considered proposals for cutting incarceration than what we have seen from almost anyone else.

Pfaff's book is targeted primarily at reformers, not skeptics. He believes the reformers misunderstand the problem and hence cannot solve it. He notes, for example, that many efforts to cut sentences for low-level offenders are coupled with increased sentences for those who commit worse crimes-which would address the problem described in the Standard Story but not the reality we actually face.

And in debunking the myth of nonviolent drug offenders haphazardly locked away for long periods of time, of course, he runs the risk of inadvertently convincing his audience there really isn't much of a problem. He's to be commended for taking that risk.

But, by forthrightly explaining the true nature of incarceration in America before laying out his case for reform, Pfaff poses a serious challenge for the skeptics, too. Unlike so many activists and op-ed writers, Pfaff cannot be waved away with a handful of simple statistics demonstrating that, no, our high incarceration rate isn't the result of locking up first-time offenders caught smoking pot. He knows that, and still sees serious problems with the status quo. His ideas deserve a close look.

Tim D., says: May 16, 2017 at 12:18 am
Kevin Drum (one of the few liberal authors I read) has made a very convincing case about the lead hypothesis, where exposure to lead notable increases in crime. I've always found it a convincing argument. Combined with other factors (e.g., massive job losses in various areas) caused the spike in crime. Apparently, this isn't the first time something like this has happened too. Crime apparently skyrocketed in the late 1800s too.
Brian W , says: May 16, 2017 at 10:05 am
Highest to Lowest – Prison Population Total Globally

Please use drop down menu 1 to choose the category of data you wish to view, and then wait for the page to reload. Once the page has reloaded please choose the continent/region from drop down menu 2 and then press apply.

Ranking – Title – Prison Population Total

1 – United States of America 2 228 424
2 – China 1 701 344
3 – Russian Federation 672 100
4 – Brazil 581 507

JAN. 24, 2014 This World Map Shows The Enormity Of America's Prison Problem

About 2.4 million people live behind bars in America - the highest number in the world. That's a little more than 0.7% of the population and more than 700 for every 100,000 people. The area of the U.S. is bigger than China, a country that dwarfs the U.S. general population by more than four times. Also note how tiny Canada looks next to the U.S.

Brian W , says: May 16, 2017 at 10:25 am
October 25, 2016 Prison Food Contractors Funded Efforts To Combat Marijuana Legalization

All of these organizations have a distinct interest in keeping nonviolent people in jail. So, it should come as no surprise a prison contractor is working to keep marijuana illegal.

MikeCLT , says: May 16, 2017 at 11:01 am
"while incarceration has undoubtedly soared-even relative to crime, which has dropped substantially since the early 1990s"

Do you think the two (higher rates of incarceration/lower crime) are unconnected?

Daniel , says: May 16, 2017 at 12:01 pm
The problem is simple: Sin. The solution is simple: Jesus Christ.
GregR , says: May 16, 2017 at 2:06 pm
As a former prosecutor we had a grotesquely unfair advantage It was policy to charge someone with the highest possible charge, knowing that we would plead to something much lower. It was even added to the jacket by screening DA's what was recommended to accept.

So someone would be looking at a charge of 'simple possession x4' meaning life in prison without any chance of getting out. If they pled with in 2 months it would be dropped to X1 so 2-4 years. Then ever two months the minimum acceptable time served would basically double.

You had to be an absolute idiot to fail to plead. Which then kicks in multiple offender charges the next time.

Nothing like starting off your career as an attorney sending drug addicts to prison for life.

Nelson, says: May 16, 2017 at 2:57 pm
I like this because it states the problem and makes reasonable suggestions about how to fix it without getting too political.

One thing that wasn't mentioned though was lobbying by private contractors that own or service prisons, thus creating a profit motive (and campaign contribution motive) for making more things imprisonable offences.

Beyond that, the few people I've known that have spent time in prison also had substance abuse issues (DUI, theft to support a habit, getting in a fight while drunk, etc ) and a general disposition to not care about the long term consequences of their actions. Perhaps providing counseling and mental health care services could help. Or perhaps not, but it is a question worth exploring.

Steven Sailer , says: May 16, 2017 at 3:58 pm
Up through the turn of the century, prosecutors were extremely stressed dealing with the huge volume of crime so they tried to plea bargain a lot of charges. With the lower crime rates in this century, prosecutors have more time on their hands to get tough.
Mia, says: May 16, 2017 at 4:20 pm
"Instead, prosecutors use them as a threat to get defendants to plead guilty to lesser charges or testify against fellow criminals. (About 95 percent of cases end in plea deals rather than trials today.)"

This post is typically clueless conservative garbage about the real issues in the justice system. There's a few other shills I'd love to call out for their dishonesty as "researchers" because they miraculously can't even find out the most basic facts or controversies on the subject, but it just takes too much energy. However, it just borders on journalistic malpractice, and it needs to stop.

About this quote I pulled here. What you are talking about is called "charge stacking," and prosecutors do it because they can strong arm everyone into a conviction, then they can build political careers on. Oftentimes, they go to run for AG offices based on their stellar records that the public is duped into thinking actually means something.

We have one out our way whose family is reportedly involved in a whole lot of shady business dealings, and he used his job to go after politicians who promised to clean house. I could go on forever about his unbelievably stupid press conferences about irrelevant stuff as if they were a papal announcement. He was pushing to do the AG promotion too. Then again, our former governor was said to be in the mob, so par for the course around here.

Don't even get me started on the judges in our state serving 30 year sentences for bribery where they threw thousands of kids in jail for nothing. I think they made millions in destroying these kids lives. I have heard crickets about that scandal and other even funnier ones on any conservative site. It's like coming to an alternate reality when I see articles like this.

Speaking of funny scandals, how about the kid who was charged with wiretapping who had just used his tablet to record bullies in class after no one in the school administration would do anything about them? Instead of addressing his concerns, they charged him with a felony! This seems rational and totally legal to you? Know what the sheriff or police authorities said when they go called out on that one in the media? No one had any idea how that got in the paperwork .You can't make this sh** up. If they had never made the papers, chances are the kid would have spent time in jail or been forced to plea bargain. Why do you defend things like this? Why is it okay that this and worse goes on and is justified as necessary? Would you feel it was necessary if they did it to you? Heather MacDonald et al needs to take off her rose-colored glasses and see what's really going down.

But anyway, what the prosecutors do (and did in my case) was withhold and/or ignore exculpatory evidence (or perhaps more accurately, reinterpret what evidence they had to come to the opposite conclusions than what the evidence said), then added manufactured evidence to create outrageous charges that the prosecutor even admitted to my lawyer was never meant to go to trial because he couldn't prove anything and everyone would have to even more formally perjure themselves. This would be things like people coming forward saying they knew me for years when they didn't know me at all, the kind of stuff that you see go on and wonder if it's even possible to get a fair trial no matter how innocent you are. But you're good with that, right? That seems like a reasonable thing for witnesses to do?

Better yet, he flipped the case so I ended up in a situation where the burden of proof was legally on me and I wasn't allowed to have any defending witnesses, while the actual law requires the prosecution to prove its case in a courtroom and call a reasonable defense. The one judge in my case was also reprimanded for taking bribes in a different case, and she went really cheap, only a couple of hundred dollars, to drop charges that the AG later reinstated.

mrscracker , says: May 16, 2017 at 5:28 pm

"while incarceration has undoubtedly soared-even relative to crime, which has dropped substantially since the early 1990s"

Do you think the two (higher rates of incarceration/lower crime) are unconnected?"


Good point to ponder. I remember back when offenders would be released over & over again to commit the same crimes. They still do to some degree, but people got fed up. And we ended up with the "3 strikes & you're out laws."

Non violent offenders should make restitution &/or be put to work. That especially goes for white collar crime. Why in the world should taxpayers have fed & housed Martha Stewart? Seriously.

I had a family member who worked in a "medium security" prison with rapists, child molesters, organized crime members, etc. Trust me, those folks needed to stay locked up. They all had a story & excuses but deep down they knew they were guilty & were pretty much sociopaths. Very little conscience at work.

[May 03, 2017] The American Criminal Justice System How It Works, How It Doesn't , and How to Fix It

May 03, 2017 |

Prison guards, unionized and politically influential, are a major force in the growth of the American prison industry. Prison guard unions have grown immensely since 1980, when the membership was no more than abut 2, 000 guards. Since then, the prison guard union in California alone has reached 25, 000. American prison guards earn an average salary of $36, 000 a year, which is 34 percent below the median American income of $48, 000 in 2007. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were about 500, 000 "correctional officers" working in the United States in 2007. Of those, 18, 000 were federal employees; the others worked for state and county governments. Because of the constantly rising rates of incarceration, the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates a growth for this occupation of 16 percent between 2007 and 2014. Of course, the downturn in the American economy as of 2009 may make such growth impossible, for economics has frequently determined results quite different from those expected. 21

In view of the large membership in the prison guards unions, the unions have considerable clout at election time. Because the relatives and friends of guards are also voters, state legislators can seldom risk antagonizing the prison guard unions if they seek reelection. Such election concerns are particularly true in California, where prison guard unions have been a major force in the growth of the prison industry. The California Correctional Peace Officers Association funnels money to politicians to ensure a "lock 'em up" policy in the state. The growth in political clout is best illustrated by the growth of the prison guard union, which collects about $15 million in union dues each year, leading to contributions to gubernatorial candidates of at least $1. 5 million. The union also finances a so- called Crime Victims Political Action Committee, which in turn supplies political candidates in California with money toward their campaigns. Prison guard unions also demand laws that lead to mandatory life sentences as well as longer sentences for all offenders. While California is one example of the influence of prison guard unions, these tactics are used in every state. Lawmakers who want to keep their jobs know that it is dangerous to oppose union demands. Therefore, prison guard unions are yet one more factor contributing to the huge incarceration rate experienced in the United States.

[May 03, 2017] Truble with DNS tests and other forensic evidence tests: 90 percent of crime labs in the United States are affiliated with law enforcement agencies by scientists who seek to please the police departments employing them. One of the worst examples of the fraud committed by forensic scientists involved Joyce Gilchrist, who for years testified at trials in the courts of Oklahoma City, claiming that she had made scientific tests that proved the guilt of those accused of murder, rape, and other crimes of violence. Between 1980 and 2001, Gilchrist had testified in thousands of cases, including 23 in which defendants were sentenced to death. Eleven of those sent to death row were executed on the basis of Gilchrist's scientific evidence. In 2001, she was dismissed from her job after the FBI found that she had deliberately withheld evidence from the defense, claimed to have achieved scientific results that no other scientist had ever achieved, and failed to perform tests that might have cleared the accused.

May 03, 2017 |

Gilchrist's fraud was discovered after DNA testing proved that she had sent Jeffrey Pierce to prison for 65 years for a rape that Pierce had nothing to do with. Then, it was found that Robert Lee Miller was innocent of a murder attributed to him by Gilchrist's science while the same Gilchrist had cleared the real killer. Gilchrist had been suspected of fraud for years, but the attorneys who accused her were ignored by the judges and the prosecutors and even the forensic scientists to whom the complaints were made. It has been estimated that many prisoners who confessed to crimes they did not commit did so in order to lessen sentences they would otherwise have received by reason of Gilchrist's manipulations. 23

In West Virginia, Fred Zane, a police forensic specialist, falsified DNA tests that he had never carried out. His false report led to the conviction of Glen Dale Woodall, who was convicted of two abduction rapes although he had nothing to do with the crimes. His lawyers succeeded in having the DNA test done over again by another laboratory; the test results showed that Woodall could not have committed these rapes. This led to the investigation of Zane's work, with the result that in 133 cases Zane had either never carried out any lab work or reported inconclusive results as certain results. 24

In January 2001, a lawsuit against the city of Chicago included a report revealing that a supervisor at the Illinois State Police crime lab had given false testimony in nine cases, including trials that resulted in wrongful rape convictions of three Chicago men. The supervisor of the crime lab, Pamela Fish, deliberately withheld evidence that would have served to establish the innocence of John Willis, falsely accused of numerous rapes. Willis was sentenced to 100 years in prison and labeled "the beauty shop rapist" by the media, always in a hurry to convict innocent people. When DNA tests proved seven years later that not Willis but another man had committed the rapes, Willis was paid $2.6 million in compensation and Fish was fired. Consequent examination of the Illinois crime lab work revealed widespread fraud promoted by that laboratory. The scientists who worked there regarded themselves as members of the prosecution and were eager to please the police and the district attorneys who employed them. Such bias is found in almost all states, since crime labs are usually not independent of the prosecutors. In fact, 90 percent of crime labs in the United States are affiliated with law enforcement agencies and therefore report

whatever prosecutors want to hear. Governor Ryan suspended the death penalty in Illinois after it was revealed that 13 of the 24 men on death row were innocent, as proved by DNA test results.25

Dr. Ralph Erdmann worked as a medical examiner in more than 40 rural counties in Texas from the early 1980s until September 1992, when he pleaded "no contest" to seven felony counts of falsifying autopsies in three Texas counties. He was sentenced to 10 years' probation and had to return $17,000 he received for examinations never performed. Erdmann repeatedly falsified toxicology reports to please prosecutors who sanctioned his deceit so they could win their cases, resulting in imprisonment and the death penalty for innocent people. Erdmann also testified falsely to release criminals who were friends of district attorneys.26

In 1993, Willie Simpson was charged with the murder of Phillip Mancini, a Vineland, New Jersey, high school teacher. Dr. Larry Mapow, the medical examiner in Cumberland County, New Jersey, concluded that Mancini had been killed by several blows to the head with a blunt instrument. When the Mancini family asked another pathologist to conduct another autopsy, the pathologist, Dr. Claus Speth, discovered that Mancini had died from two bullets and not from blows to the head. In another New Jersey case, Willie Simpson was charged with the murder of Robert Webb. The medical examiner claimed that Simpson had killed Webb with a gunshot to the head. Yet, Dr. Michael Baden, the foremost medical examiner in the country, concluded that Webb was killed by a brick and not a gunshot. Baden concluded that "there is not a shred of evidence that Webb was killed by means of a gun." It then turned out that another man, not Simpson, had killed Webb.27

Perhaps one of the most atrocious miscarriages of justice was inflicted on Barry Beach, a resident of Poplar, Montana. Beach was sentenced to 100 years in prison when a jury convicted him in 1984 of killing 17-year-old Kimberly Nees in 1979. That conviction was obtained by a prosecutor in the attorney general's office, Marc Racicot, who was guilty of "prosecutorial misconduct", a phrase meaning that he deliberately railroaded Beach into prison. Racicot later became governor of Montana.

The evidence is that Beach had nothing to do with the murder of Nees but that she was killed by a group of girls who had together murdered Nees and left their footprints and fingerprints all over the car in which they transported the dead body to a nearby river. In fact, the girls who murdered Nees confessed having done so to a number of Poplar residents. Still, the police and prosecutors did not want to hear that. Instead, Beach was tortured into confessing to the crime.

[Mar 22, 2017] What Percentage of Americans are Attorneys

Mar 22, 2017 |
Here's a graph showing the number of attorneys as a share of the US population:

attorneys as a pct of US pop 20170322a

The increase seems pretty inexorable starting around 1970, doesn't it?

For grins and giggles, here's snide graph on which I will make no comment:

attorneys as a pct of US pop v Growth in Real GDP per capita 20170322a

If you're wondering where the lawyers live, a quick google search turned up this post which shows attorneys by state. Needless to say, the share of attorneys as a percentage of the population is greater in the District of Columbia than any of the states, by far.

Data for ("resident active") attorneys used in these graphs comes are from the American Bar Association . The ABA's website seems insistent that anyone referencing their data should state it is "Reprinted by permission of the American Bar Association. All rights reserved." I am afraid to argue with them.

Data and estimates for the US population originates with the Census, but I'm using the set cleaned up by the Texas State Library and Archives Commission since its in an easy to use format. Real GDP per capita comes from NIPA Table 7.1 .

If you want my spreadsheet, drop me a line at my first name (mike) dot my last name (that's kimel with one m) at gmail with a dot com.

[Mar 22, 2017] Taibbi: Trump Pick Jay Clayton Will Be Most Conflicted SEC Chair Ever

Mar 22, 2017 |

America's incoming top cop on finance is literally married to industry

Clayton is already an unusual choice, given that he's slated to be a primary regulator of Wall Street while a chunk of his family income will continue to come from Goldman Sachs, where his wife Gretchen works . Although he will have to recuse himself from enforcement cases involving Goldman, he will not have to sit out of a broad range of other regulatory decisions that affect the company. This is already notable.

But Public Citizen has stumbled onto some other oddities about Clayton's personal holdings.

In Clayton's absurdly baroque Form 278 financial disclosure – if you want to feel like your financial life is meager and uncomplicated, take a look at this staggeringly long list of income sources for the former Sullivan and Cromwell mainstay – he lists, under "other assets and income," a series of entries involving a company called WMB Holdings.

WMB Holdings, he explains in a verbose and unhelpful endnote, is a Delaware-based entity that provides "business, financial, and representational services."

According to Clayton, WMB secures business licenses, files UCC forms, creates special purpose vehicles (you might remember these little financial Frankensteins from the Enron story), engages in "compliance support services," secures data storage and helps with "anti-counterfeiting services," among other things.

This sounds harmless enough. But WMB, and a company called CSC – with which it appears to have a connection – is a company of a very particular type, known well to white-collar investigators.

"It's a corporate formation company," says Jack Blum , an expert on white-collar crime and money laundering who is best known for his investigation of the BCCI scandal. "You call them up, and 20 minutes later you've got a Delaware corporation. I'm exaggerating, of course, but that's what they do."

These firms can be used to create chains of legal entities, sometimes ending in offshore accounts, that make tracing financial transactions difficult, if not impossible. "They can make the ownership of anything completely impenetrable," says Blum, speaking generally and not necessarily about Clayton's firm. "If you want to launder money, evade tax or hide assets from a spouse, you can do it."

Clayton's family seems to have a serious interest in this firm. He lists a series of family trusts containing WMB holdings, most producing high annual dividends.

If you add up each of the dividends – some of which are listed as generating over $1 million a year, while others are listed at $100,000-$1,000,000, etc. – the total annual value of these holdings comes out to over $4 million annually, at least.

The endnote claims Clayton has no beneficial interest or control in these holdings, but that his wife and/or children have a "beneficial interest."

Given that the company would appear to be subject to SEC oversight, it's worth asking the nature of his family's involvement with WMB, and moreover to learn more about what his attitude is toward such companies in general.

Clayton has pledged to divest from WMB when his wife has "directly held financial interests" in the company, but not where his wife or his children are "solely a beneficiary."

Public Citizen for a variety of reasons believes that WMB "may also be the parent of Corporation Service Co. (CSC)," another large business services firm with offices in "Delaware, Australia, France, Hong Kong, Singapore, Sweden, and the United Kingdom."

Among other things, WMB was for some time listed as the parent of a company called CSC Trust Co., now called Delaware Trust Co.

CSC Global claims 2,500 employees as well as 180,000 corporate customers, while also representing 10,000 law firms. The company appears to do more or less the same things that Clayton says WMB does, dealing with creating legal business entities, management of licenses, upkeep of filings, dealing with service of process, etc.

Interestingly, and to Blum's point, Clayton's disclosure does not list any interest in CSC. So although he gives some information about what appears to be a holding company with little to no public profile, the company that boasts of its connections to 180,000 corporations is not mentioned in the disclosure form.

Neither CSC nor Clayton have responded to requests for comment.

The real issue with companies like these is the vast array of tools they can offer big companies and high-net-worth individuals to complicate their financial profiles. The worst-case scenario is a string of shell companies that end in an opaque offshore haven.

"That's when the trail becomes impossible to follow," says Blum. Investigators who try to follow money into offshore banking havens have almost no hope of getting answers there, he says.

"You need a formal mutual legal request that may or may not be honored in the lifetime of the investigator," says Blum.

Interestingly, when Public Citizen ran the names of WMB and CSC through the Panama Papers database, they found nothing. But when they ran the address common to both companies – 2711 Centerville Rd., Wilmington – through the database, they found it connected with numerous firms whose agent was the infamous Mossack Fonseca, many of them offshore companies.

In its letter to the Senate Banking Committee, Public Citizen asked the Senate to ask Clayton what this means. Did either WMB or CSC do business with Mossack Fonseca? Have either of those companies provided services to Mossack Fonseca clients?

Even if WMB and CSC are completely above-board, it's a strange sort of investment for the top cop on the financial beat. It will be interesting to see if he sheds some light on his holdings when he's questioned this week.

[Mar 22, 2017] Shelf Awareness for Readers for Tuesday, March 21, 2017 Shelf Awareness

Notable quotes:
"... Hayes contends that the country has been divided into two halves that he labels the Colony and the Nation. The idea is adapted from Richard Nixon's 1968 speech at the Republican National Convention, in which he asserted that black Americans "don't want to be a colony in a nation." Hayes argues that almost a half-century later we have created just that: ..."
"... ...we have built a colony in a nation, not in the classic Marxist sense but in the deep sense we can appreciate as a former colony ourselves: A territory that isn't actually free. A place controlled from outside rather than within. A place where the mechanisms of representation don't work enough to give citizens a sense of ownership over their own government. A place where the law is a tool of control rather than a foundation for prosperity. ..."
"... The benefits for the Nation were manifest and the practices were almost immediately exported to cities all over the country. Cleaned-up cities came at a cost, though, vacuuming huge numbers of poor, mentally ill and minority-status Americans into prisons and inflicting "widespread harassment and misery" on residents of the Colony. ..."
Mar 22, 2017 |

Chris Hayes, author of Twilight of the Elites and host of MSNBC's All In with Chris Hayes , seeks to establish a new framework for understanding America's fractured society with his book A Colony in a Nation .

Hayes contends that the country has been divided into two halves that he labels the Colony and the Nation. The idea is adapted from Richard Nixon's 1968 speech at the Republican National Convention, in which he asserted that black Americans "don't want to be a colony in a nation." Hayes argues that almost a half-century later we have created just that:

...we have built a colony in a nation, not in the classic Marxist sense but in the deep sense we can appreciate as a former colony ourselves: A territory that isn't actually free. A place controlled from outside rather than within. A place where the mechanisms of representation don't work enough to give citizens a sense of ownership over their own government. A place where the law is a tool of control rather than a foundation for prosperity.

... ... ...

Hayes aims to show not just that the law is unequally applied, but that the Nation and the Colony have two entirely different justice systems. He points to colleges and universities as a key example: "All these schools and hundreds of others draw their student bodies disproportionately from upper echelons of society, and they are places where parents and administrators outright expect students to engage in illicit behaviors." Why aren't poorer neighborhoods extended the same "extremely liberal norms of tolerance"? In fact, under the widely celebrated "Broken Windows" theory of policing in the 1990s, New York "constructed an entire new judicial system around low-level offenses" where the goal was "not to figure out if the person in question committed a crime but to sort city residents according to their obedience and orderliness."

The benefits for the Nation were manifest and the practices were almost immediately exported to cities all over the country. Cleaned-up cities came at a cost, though, vacuuming huge numbers of poor, mentally ill and minority-status Americans into prisons and inflicting "widespread harassment and misery" on residents of the Colony.

Hayes does not propose solutions in A Colony in a Nation . Instead, he makes a powerful dichotomy visible to those who can't see it. His framework serves as a powerful lens through which to understand the last half-century of American history, as well as the immense challenges going forward. -- Hank Stephenson

[Mar 14, 2017] the vast increase in incarceration might explain the secular decline in the Labor Force Participation rate

Mar 14, 2017 |
New Deal democrat : March 13, 2017 at 05:05 AM This is really, really good, and should be read by everybody.

Cam Hui on how the vast increase in incarceration might explain the secular decline in the Labor Force Participation rate:

Great charts, and the first attempt I've seen to actually quantify the effect.

I see one big problem: incarceration really exploded between 1980 and 2000, and yet that is exactly when the secular decline in the LFPR, relatively speaking, abated.

ken melvin -> New Deal democrat... , March 13, 2017 at 06:18 AM

Cause and effect.

[Dec 27, 2016] Report Nearly 10 percent of inmates suffer sexual abuse

Dec 27, 2016 |

Nearly one in 10 prisoners suffer sexual abuse while incarcerated in state prisons, local jails and post-release treatment facilities, according to a report published Thursday by the U.S. Department of Justice.

The report, based on the first National Former Prisoners Survey , includes data from 518,800 former prisoners who were on supervised parole in mid-2008.

An estimated 3.7 percent said they were forced or pressured to have nonconsensual sex with another inmate. About 5.3 percent reported an incident that involved facility staff.

The report's publication coincides with the Justice Department's release of landmark federal standards to protect inmates in all federal, state and local facilities, under the Prison Rape Elimination Act of 2003.

"For too long, incidents of sexual abuse against incarcerated persons have not been taken as seriously as sexual abuse outside prison walls," the Justice Department said in a statement on the standards. "In popular culture, prison rape is often the subject of jokes; in public discourse, it has been at times dismissed by some as an inevitable - or even deserved - consequence of criminality."

A quarter of those who reported they had suffered unwanted sexual contact at the hands of other inmates said they had been physically held down or restrained and a quarter had been physically harmed or injured. Nearly a quarter (23 percent) reported serious injuries, including anal/vaginal tearing (12 percent), chipped or lost teeth (12 percent), being knocked unconscious (8 percent), internal injuries (6 percent), knife/stab wounds (4 percent) or broken bones (4 percent), according to the survey of former prisoners.

Although any sexual contact between staff and inmates is legally nonconsensual, former prisoners said some incidents were unwilling and some were "willing." Most victims of staff sexual misconduct reported some type of coercion. Half said they had been offered favors or special privileges and a third said they had been talked into it. Nearly 7 in 8 in this category reported only perpetrators of the opposite sex. More than three-quarters of all reported staff sexual misconduct involved a male inmate with female staff.

The rate of victimization by other inmates was reported by homosexual (39 percent) and bisexual male inmates (34 percent) at rates about 10 times higher than those reported by heterosexual males (3.5 percent).

In other findings, the report said inmates of two or more races (11.3 percent) and black non-Hispanics (6.5 percent) suffered sexual victimization at rates higher than white non-Hispanic inmates (4.5 percent) and Hispanic inmates (4 percent).

The survey was part of the Bureau of Justice Statistics National Prison Rape Statistics Program, which has collected administrative records of reported sexual violence or allegations of sexual victimization directly from victims since 2004.

The new standards require an array of measures to prevent and handle sexual abuse involving prisoners, including additional staff training, grievance reporting systems, increased staff and video monitoring, prompt medical and psychological attention for victims, and disciplinary actions for staff or inmate perpetrators.

"The standards we establish today reflect the fact that sexual assault crimes committed within our correctional facilities can have devastating consequences - for individual victims and for communities far beyond our jails and prisons," Attorney General Eric Holder said in a statement.

The standards will go into effect for federal facilities in 60 days. States that do not comply or demonstrate that they are working toward complying with the standards face the loss of relevant federal funds.

In drafting the standards, the Justice Department was prohibited from placing an undue financial burden on the states. It collected public comment, and haggled with officials from states, a wide array of advocacy groups and other stakeholders, a department official said, explaining why the standards were instituted nine years after the law was passed.

"These standards are the result of a thoughtful and deliberative process - and represent a critical step forward in protecting the rights and safety of all Americans," Holder said.

[Dec 27, 2016] National Movement Hopes to Help Hundreds of Thousands Jailed Because They Can t Afford Bail

Notable quotes:
"... Understanding Mass Incarceration ..."
Dec 27, 2016 |
For the nearly 8,000 people locked up in Cook County jail, and the 2,400 on house arrest, the presumption of innocence until proven guilty effectively does not exist. Roughly 95 percent of those incarcerated have not faced trial or conviction of any kind, the vast majority of them ensnared simply because they are unable to afford bond. Those forced to languish in indefinite detention are disproportionately African American, and their pretrial punishments can permanently set their lives off-course, causing them to lose jobs, custody of their children, their housing, and even their lives.

Now, a group of formerly incarcerated people, movement lawyers and concerned community members in Chicago are seeking to intervene in this humanitarian crisis by pooling collective resources to free people from Cook County jail. Calling themselves the Chicago Community Bond Fund (CCBF), the all-volunteer group just announced it has freed 50 people from jail or house arrest, using a revolving fund.

But the organization is not just aiming to buy the liberty of those locked up -- a transaction they acknowledge is chilling. Members want to change the system by organizing to eradicate monetary bond altogether and address the harms that Cook County inflicts on its own residents. "You are supposed to be innocent until proven guilty, but they treat everyone guilty until proven innocent," Tyler Smith, a 21-year-old Chicago resident bonded out by the CCBF in February, told AlterNet.

Amid mounting nationwide concern about mass incarceration, the CCBF is advancing a strategy of harm reduction and resistance that appears to be catching fire, with related projects established in Massachusetts , New York , California , North Carolina and beyond. In a country that remains, by far , the biggest jailer in the world, organizers hope that similar bond funds can comprise one prong in a broad strategy to end the injustices perpetrated by prison and jail systems across the United States.

"If we are really serious about the presumption of innocence, which is not a radical concept, then we need to take a critical look at cash bond and pretrial detention across the board," Max Suchan, a co-founder of CCBF, told AlterNet. "The solution is to end cash bond and eliminate pretrial detention."

"My Life Was Ruined"

While the monetary bond system remains, Smith said he is glad the CCBF exists. "It had a good impact," he said of the organization. "It brought me hope."

Smith has been working since he was 15, and said he comes from a "single-parent household, with a mother who has been working hard since I was born." He described himself as "head of household" since he was 19.

"My whole situation started on July 15, 2013, when I was accused of robbery," said Smith. Unable to pay $2,500 -- 10 percent of his $25,000 deposit bond -- he was forcibly subjected to electronic monitoring, a form of house arrest, in July 2016. Smith was working two jobs at the time, but lost both as a result of restrictions on his movement and invasive surveillance. He was living with his mother, who was unemployed, and says as a result of his incarceration the family was almost evicted from their home. "My life was ruined," said Smith. "There was nothing I could do."

After being referred by his public defender, Smith was bonded out by the CCBF in February and has since become a vocal organizer against the injustices he endured, testifying at a November public hearing on the use of money bond in Cook County. He said that through the CCBF, he has gained important community he describes as "friends and family." He added that "after the situation, it's like the stress has been lifted from my mom."

Yet Smith also said that his life has been unfairly derailed by what he has suffered so far. While his charges were dropped last Friday, Smith and his family have already faced staggering punishment, he notes. In light of this ordeal, he emphasized that it is important for those who have not experienced incarceration firsthand to "hear my voice and what I have to say."

"To make things better in the justice system, they have to eliminate bond and house arrest," said Smith.

For many, the harms inflicted during pretrial detention are irreversible. "Inability to pay bond results in higher rates of conviction, longer sentences, loss of housing and jobs, separation of families and lost custody of children," notes the CCBF in its first annual report .

It is far more difficult for individuals to fight their cases while incarcerated, and after sitting in indefinite detention, many experience pressure to plead guilty. In Cook County alone, people arrested on "nonviolent" felonies who were unable to post bail were four times as likely to receive convictions as their counterparts who were able to avoid pretrial detention, according to research included in a class action lawsuit.

Especially for those who already experience poverty or marginalization, even just a few days in jail can permanently disrupt jobs and family connections, a reality underscored by the Pretrial Justice Institute's " Three Days Count " campaign.

Diomar, who was formerly incarcerated in Cook County jail, says it was only because he was bonded out by CCBF that he was able to "be free to see the birth of my daughter and support my family."

"Bond is fundamentally unfair because it punishes poor people more -- and it's not just you that suffers, but also your entire family," he said in a press statement. "They lock you away from your kids, and that really sets the tone for the case and puts you at a disadvantage from the very beginning. You can't fight your case as well from a legal or emotional standpoint from the inside."

Some do not survive their ordeals. According to a report by the Huffington Post, 815 people "died in jails and police lockups in the year following Sandra Bland's death on July 13, 2015." Their data shows that many of those who lost their lives were incarcerated because they were unable to meet bond requirements. The tally is a dramatic undercount, as it does not include people who die following release due to incarcerated-related causes.

The long-term impacts of jailing are tragically illustrated by the case of Kalief Browder, who in 2010 was arrested at the age of 16 and spent more than 1,000 days locked up at Rikers Island waiting for a trial that never happened. He was forced to remain incarcerated because his family could not afford to post bail. During this time he endured roughly two years in solitary confinement, as well as a violent assault by an officer. Following his release, Browder committed suicide in 2015.

"He tried to lead a normal life but after being beaten, starved, being in solitary confinement for so long, that would take a toll on a grown man, let alone a child," Venida Browder, Kalief's mother, told the New York Daily News six months after her son's death. She died just over a year after her son took his life.

"No More Business-as-Usual"

Pretrial detention, like that which Browder was forced to endure, is a key driver of soaring jail populations across the United States. According to a report released in February 2015 by the Vera Institute, annual admissions to jails jumped from 6 million in 1983 to 11.7 million in 2013. Meanwhile, those incarcerated in jails are languishing longer, with the average stay climbing from 14 to 23 days over the past 30 years. People of color are disproportionately impacted by these trends. The Vera Institute finds that African Americans, who make up just 13 percent of the US population, are jailed at four times the rate of their white counterparts.

As in Cook County, the vast majority of people locked up in jails across the country have not been convicted of any crime and are ostensibly assumed innocent. The Department of Justice estimated in 2014 that, at any given time, roughly 450,000 people are incarcerated in jails awaiting trial, amounting to two-thirds of the jail population. A special report from the Bureau of Justice Statistics, released in 2007, shows that five out of six of those locked up "had bail set with financial conditions required for release that were not met." According to the Vera report, three-fifths of all people locked up in jail are "awaiting trial or resolution of their cases through through plea negotiation, and simply too poor to post even low bail."

The spike in jail populations nationwide tracks directly with increased reliance on ever-more-expensive bail. In a 2012 report , the Justice Policy Institute notes that, "From 1992 to 2006, the use of financial release, primarily through commercial bonds, increased by 32 percent." Meanwhile, the report observes that average bail amounts have increased "by over $30,000 between 1992 and 2006."

Bail itself reflects the racism of the broader prison-industrial complex. According to figures released by the Pretrial Justice Institute last year, African American men face 35 percent higher bonds than white men nationwide. Meanwhile, monetary bail systems by definition discriminate against those members of society who are least able to pay, in a society with profound class disparities along race lines. The Pew Research Center determined in 2014 that the current wealth gap between white and black people in the United States is at its highest point since 1989, with white homes possessing 13 times the median wealth of their black counterparts in 2013.

Even the Department of Justice submitted a friend-of-the-court brief in August arguing that incarcerating people because they are unable to pay bail violates the US constitution. Yet despite the public airing of concerns, the system continues unabated, with rare exceptions. In contrast to most state and local jurisdictions in the United States, Washington DC releases roughly 90 percent of people held overnight, without requiring monetary bail.

Peter Goldberg, executive director of the Brooklyn Bail Fund, told AlterNet over the phone, "The goal of a bond fund is certainly not to prop up an unfair system with money, but to disrupt and change it. In addition to the obvious harm reduction that a fund can provide by getting people out of jail, we work in tandem with others in the movement to abolish cash bail. Funds must bring to light the experiences of individuals, allow them to have voice in what reform looks like. No more business-as-usual."

"There Hasn't Been a Change"

In light of these injustices, Chicago-area activists and lawyers are organizing a coordinated fightback. Currently and formerly incarcerated people filed a class-action lawsuit against Cook County officials in October, in partnership with the CCBF and lawyers' groups, including the Roderick and Solange MacArthur Justice Center.

"Every day, thousands of human beings in Cook County, each presumed innocent as a matter of law, remain in jail for the duration of their case simply because they cannot afford to pay a monetary amount set without relation to their ability to pay," states the complaint, which was emailed to AlterNet. "The large and disproportionate majority of these persons are African Americans."

According to 2011-2013 data from the Clerk of the Circuit Court of County, analyzed by the MacArthur Justice Center, these disparities are stark. For example, only 15.8 percent of African Americans charged with Class 4 felonies were released on bond before their trials, as compared to 32.4% of non-African American defendants.

Cook County Sheriff Thomas Dart, who is named as a defendant in the lawsuit, has stated publicly he believes the money bail system is unfair. Cara Smith, chief policy officer for Dart, told AlterNet that the sheriff "has been lobbying to eliminate cash bond in Illinois."

But campaigners say they are exasperated by the endless talk about the problems while the policies remain the same. "The reason Sheriff Dart is named in the lawsuit is because his office is incarcerating these people after the bond is set," Alexa Van Brunt of MacArthur Justice Center told AlterNet. "He is the custodian of the people who are being held based on these judicial bail orders, which we believe are unconstitutional. There has been a lot of discussion about the problem of cash bail in Cook County. It's an issue that has been on everyone's radar for some time. But there hasn't been a change."

Building a Movement

While the monetary system persists, people across the country are taking direct action to remove people from its clutches. "We're first and foremost interested in keeping clients out of jail," Brett Davidson, the director of the Connecticut Bail Fund, told AlterNet over the phone. "It's ridiculous that we're even able to buy people's freedom, that money is the thing standing between people and jail."

The CCBF, which combines harm reduction with social movement support, emerged from a call to address grave injustices committed by the Chicago Police Department. In August 2014, police killed two black men, one of whom was 17-year-old Desean Pittman. When Pittman's friends and family held a community vigil shortly following the killing, they were attacked by police who "ripped down memorial photos and tipped over candles," said Suchan. After the incident was over, five people were charged with felonies, including Pittman's mother, and four could not afford bond.

Just back from Ferguson, Suchan says he "made contact with family members who were doing their own fundraising. Ultimately we had to raise around $30,000 to get everyone out of jail. It took four months. We were doing fish fries and game nights, as well as crowdfunding online campaigns." That effort launched conversations about what it would look like to create a more sustainable fund.

"We decided to form this group so that we could reach out to those who couldn't help themselves, and we are very proud of what we're doing," co-founder Jeanette Wince said at a launch party in November 2015. Since the launch, the organization says it has posted "over $278,000 in bonds ranging from $500 to $50,000, spending the vast majority of this sum on felony bonds." Not a single bond has been forfeited, and many of those released have since become active with the organization.

To this day, CCBF martials resources to support individuals, as well as the Black Lives Matter movement, with roughly a quarter of the people bonded out engaged in a political action at the time of their arrest. Support of people doing activist work "directly advances our mission of supporting movements seeking systemic change in Chicago," the group says in their annual report . "Bond funds are a really important, humanizing tool, but they are really only a way forward if they are connected and accountable to larger movements for justice and decarceration," Sharlyn Grace, CCBF co-founder, told AlterNet.

James Kilgore, author of the book Understanding Mass Incarceration , told AlterNet that bail funds "raise the issue of the injustice of bail and put the issue of abolishing cash bail onto the agenda. That is an important step in decarceration."

However, individuals don't have to have ties to such social movements to be deemed worthy of support. The CCBF has developed detailed criteria that weighs factors including "inability to pay," "risk of victimization in jail" and "special health needs."

"Many times, when there are public conversations about bail reform, they move forward by dividing people into categories of worthy and unworthy," Grace emphasized. "We're not a guilt or innocence-based organization. We think of everyone as being harmed in the jail. We are not going to say we are only bailing out people who face 'nonviolent' charges or drug charges. Fundamentally, keeping people in cages is not how we want to respond to harm in our communities." This piece was reprinted by Truthout with permission or license. It may not be reproduced in any form without permission or license from the source.

[Dec 26, 2016] Testifying Under Oath How To Be An Effective Witness 41 Tips to Prepare you for Court James M. Vukelic 9781884244261 Amaz

Dec 26, 2016 |
5.0 out of 5 stars By Marshall D. Tessnear on December 9, 2004 Format: Paperback
An excellent book

" I have just finished reading Stanley Brodsky's Coping With Cross Examination. I absorbed it like a sponge. Although most of the book is devoted to testimony by mental health experts in criminal court, there is much in the book that is very relevant in other contexts. I have rarely been asked or required to testify in criminal cases, but I have provided expert medical testimony at hundreds of Social Security disability appeals hearings, complete with judge and lawyer. In that role there is often conflicting evidence and the expert must integrate all of the relevant evidence, and most importantly be prepared, professional, impartial, and provide relevant understandable testimony. Dr Brodsky's book clearly speaks to those points. The book is full of good examples, good humor, and good reasoning. It is the kind of book that I am likely to consult again to help me in my work. I highly recommend this book to any mental health professional who may be asked to provide sworn testimony. I also recommend it to those who may not testify but who may be retained by lawyers for evaluations or consultations. Dr. Brodsky's ethics are superb. This book is a very practical and helpful guide to working with lawyers and judges.

By A Customer on March 5, 2004 Format: Paperback
A MUST --Makes the difficult areas of Cross-Examination easy

" This is the third installment. In plain language, the author tackles many difficult cross-examination issues. The author uses easy to understand examples to illustrate complex litigation processes and skills that the expert witness must master before taking the stand. As a lawyer, I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in expert testimony. I give this book my highest rating. Also, check out the other two books on expert testimony by the author.

By pierrerostov on October 2, 2011 Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
spotty, try his first book first

" I highly recommend his first book "Testifying in Court, Guidelines and Maxims for the Expert Witness." The later books are a bit self-indulgent, with tangential stories relating to psychology or life that have little practical value. Still, there are a fair number of nuggets. The problem is, many of the gems from the first book are not included, and so the treatment of cross-ex in this book is not comprehensive. Try his first book first (It's all about cross-examination too, even though the title is more general), then see what you think.

By Amazon Customer on December 23, 2009 Format: Paperback
Indispensable Guide for Experts In Court

" This is one of a handful of books that any expert called on to testify should own. It is a well written, practical volume that will help professionals present testimony that is credible, compelling and ethical.

[Dec 13, 2016] Learn to spot the telltale signs of debt-relief scams - The Washington Post

Notable quotes:
"... The real plan: Make money off desperate people. "For many consumers, more than half of their monthly payment went towards defendants' fees," the FTC said. "For consumers who were in the program longer than 18 months, defendants also charged a $49 monthly 'maintenance fee.' " ..."
Dec 13, 2016 |

People are so desperate to get out of debt that they will believe anything and anyone promising relief. They often turn to debt-relief companies promoting plans that can supposedly solve their problems. But for many, not only does the relief not come, but the steep cost of the plans - sometimes thousands of dollars - can also dig them in deeper.

Recently, the Federal Trade Commission announced a $7.9 million settlement with one debt-relief operation that the agency said scammed people by making false promises. The company waived its rights to "challenge or contest" the charges, according to the settlement.

What the FTC found was troubling. And if the right knowledge is power, let's look at the anatomy of how this one scam worked.

The promoter: DebtPro 123. Unfortunately, this company is not alone. Just look for company names intended to lure you into thinking that they feel your pain and want to help eliminate your debt in just a few short years.

The pitch: According to the FTC complaint, DebtPro 123 told folks that its "debt resolution program would completely resolve consumers' credit card and other unsecured debts (including department store accounts, personal loans, medical bills, student loans, and accounts with collection agencies)."

It also told consumers: "DebtPro will reduce a client's total debt by 70 to 80 percent on average including all fees" and "With settlements as low as 10 percent, this means when all is said and done, a client's savings could be as much as 20 cents on the dollar including our fees."

Now really, doesn't that statement sound too good to be true?

And it was.

What would you say if you were told this? "With honest and informative advice, outstanding customer service, and a proven debt settlement process, we can ensure our clients become debt-free quickly and comfortably and get back on the path of financial freedom."

I homed in on two words: "quickly" and "comfortably."

Unless you come into some big bucks, the process of paying down your debts is long. It is painful. And if someone tells you different, don't believe it.

Oh, and there was the debt calculator to help the unbelievers. It was designed to back up the ridiculous claims of a quick debt reduction.

The two phases of the program: In phase one, customers put money in a "Creditor Fund/Settlement Account." They were told they needed this pot of money for negotiations with their creditors. In phase two, customers were assured that the company was working on their case to get all their debt terms changed.

During these phases, customers were advised to stop paying their bills and to stop all communications with their creditors. Bad move. Often in these cases, people find out later that nothing had been done on their behalf and that fees, interest and penalties had been piling on while they waited on relief.

The FTC complaint said DebtPro made reference to its "legal department." And, in phrasing that's mimicked by other such companies, DebtPro told its clients: "The attorneys will communicate directly with your creditors and debt collectors via the mail and telephone. They will audit your bills and the collection methods being used by the creditors to determine if your consumer rights have been violated."

Other promises: Your credit will be better because the firm will work to remove negative information from your credit files. Except it failed to make clear that if the information was true - that you didn't pay your bills as agreed - this information can't be removed. By law, most negative credit information can stay on your reports for seven years.

The real plan: Make money off desperate people. "For many consumers, more than half of their monthly payment went towards defendants' fees," the FTC said. "For consumers who were in the program longer than 18 months, defendants also charged a $49 monthly 'maintenance fee.' "

The failed promises

Debts weren't reduced quickly. In fact, in many instances, the debt-relief company didn't start settlement negotiations until after the client had received letters from creditors warning of an impending lawsuit for failure to make debt payments.

Settlements weren't significantly less than what was owed. Negative information was not removed. And there was "no legal department, 'legal in-house counsels' or any attorneys on staff," the FTC found.

People ended up with more debt, some lost their homes, and others had their wages garnished or had to file for bankruptcy protection.

Now that you know the inside deal, don't get suckered into this type of debt-relief scam.

Write Singletary at The Washington Post, 1150 15th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20071 or Questions may be used in a future column, with the writer's name, unless otherwise requested. To read more, go to .


10/19/2015 7:08 AM EDT

How about a column on the D-list celebrities which tout questionable sites like debt-relief companies, reverse mortgages and so on - do they do any online research before pocketing their fees?

Vic Martinsons

10/18/2015 8:23 PM EDT

There are companies, like Settle4Less, that do not charge the consumer any fees and doesn't require them to deposit money into a special account. The consumer is never told to stop paying their debts during the settlement process. No claims are made regarding credit score improvement or that the process will be successful.


10/17/2015 1:55 PM EDT

Collection companies buy your debt at auction for as little as two cents on the dollar. They then use Robo calls to harass you forever...If you are unable to pay the debt go to the nearest library and research ways and means to get these vultures off your back .


10/17/2015 11:03 AM EDT [Edited]

Depending on what state you live in, making the people who hold unsecured debt come after you is the least expensive route. Small claims court is the one they will try if they try at all, and that usually has severe limitations. Most of these companies are headquartered in some "business friendly" state which means they have to hire attorneys from your state to pursue you, which will make it prohibitively expensive and Superior court is ludicrously expensive for the creditor. If you can ride it out, you might not have to pay anything,. Hiring a debt relief company is probably the most expensive way to do it.


10/17/2015 8:43 AM EDT

if it sounds too good to be true......


10/16/2015 11:23 PM EDT

Sounds like a Washington Post neo-con scam. "For only a few trillion dollars, if you help us take out Saddam, the world will be better."

If only you support our policy of "taking out Bashar, and the freedom loving Salafists will turn Syria into a liberal haven".

I guess the debt relief people are invading their turf on the American people and they are mad.

[Dec 10, 2016] Federal Criminal Defense Attorney

Notable quotes:
"... Interestingly, white collar cases (like fraud, embezzlement and corruption) usually do not result in as steep a sentence as one might get if prosecuted for the same offense in state court. ..."
"... For the most part, however, the mandatory minimum penalties and federal sentencing guidelines usually result in very lengthy sentences for people convicted of federal crimes. That's one of the main reasons it is so important to retain a lawyer with a record of success in federal court if the case is being prosecuted by the federal government. ..."
"... In order to have jurisdiction over a crime, the alleged criminal activity must somehow involve the federal government or some instrumentality of interstate commerce. ..."
Dec 10, 2016 |
Are federal criminal cases different than state criminal cases? Yes!

Federal criminal investigations and prosecutions are handled very differently than similar criminal cases in state courts. First of all, the law enforcement agencies that investigate federal crimes are generally well-funded and staffed by the most experienced agents and investigators. The federal prosecutors who conduct federal criminal trials and sentencing hearings are also usually very experienced, and have virtually unlimited resources at their disposal. The judges who preside in federal courts have lifetime appointments and their dockets are generally not as crowded as those of most state court judges who handle many different types of criminal offenses.

More importantly, federal crimes generally carry stiffer sentences than state crimes, especially in the areas of drug trafficking and conspiracy. Federal criminal penalties are also more severe in cases involving child pornography and other sexual offenses prosecuted in federal court.

Interestingly, white collar cases (like fraud, embezzlement and corruption) usually do not result in as steep a sentence as one might get if prosecuted for the same offense in state court.

For the most part, however, the mandatory minimum penalties and federal sentencing guidelines usually result in very lengthy sentences for people convicted of federal crimes. That's one of the main reasons it is so important to retain a lawyer with a record of success in federal court if the case is being prosecuted by the federal government.

Of course, not all crimes can be prosecuted in federal court. The federal government has limited jurisdiction over criminal offenses and can only prosecute those crimes that are specifically defined in the federal criminal code. In order to have jurisdiction over a crime, the alleged criminal activity must somehow involve the federal government or some instrumentality of interstate commerce. Federal courts have generally been very expansive in their definition of what constitutes interstate commerce. As a result, the federal government now prosecutes many crimes that were traditionally prosecuted only in state court. And this trend is likely to continue.

Given the severity and complexity of federal criminal investigations and prosecutions, anyone charged with a federal crime should retain a lawyer who has extensive experience in federal criminal defense. If you need a federal criminal defense attorney with decades of successful results, contact our firm and discuss your case with Page Pate in complete confidence. You will not find a law firm with more recent successful results, better credentials, or a deeper commitment to pursuing justice for people who need help in federal court.

[Dec 10, 2016] Mail Fraud Conviction - Criminal Defense Lawyers

Notable quotes:
"... According to The Wall Street Journal ..."
"... The National Registry of Exoneration, a project of the University of Michigan, lists 18 wrongful convictions of mail fraud in the last 23 years-and this is only of the cases they've been able to examine. ..."
"... Of the 18 wrongfully convicted persons, nine were exonerated in the last five years, having already served between three to five years of their sentences. Factors contributing to the wrongful convictions ranged from perjury, misleading forensic evidence, official misconduct and most importantly, lack of adequate legal services. ..."
Dec 10, 2016 |
1-844-454-4895 Mail Fraud Lawyers

Mail fraud refers to the use of the U.S. Postal Service or other mail carrier to commit a crime. Because of the proliferation of electronic communications, mail fraud has been expanded to include wire fraud-which is the use of wire communications (such as email) to commit crimes.

According to The Wall Street Journal , in 2013 there were 3,923 cases of wire fraud. For one to be convicted of mail or wire fraud, the court must establish that there is intent on the part of the accused to defraud a person or institution as part of a scheme that uses mail and wire communication. Convictions can also be made on the basis of intent alone. When found guilty, a defendant may face as long as 30 years in prison and $1 million in fines.

REPORTS ON EXONERATION The National Registry of Exoneration, a project of the University of Michigan, lists 18 wrongful convictions of mail fraud in the last 23 years-and this is only of the cases they've been able to examine.

Of the 18 wrongfully convicted persons, nine were exonerated in the last five years, having already served between three to five years of their sentences. Factors contributing to the wrongful convictions ranged from perjury, misleading forensic evidence, official misconduct and most importantly, lack of adequate legal services.

Last year, two people were exonerated. One of them was forty-year-old Leean Shantelle Thain from Berrien County, Michigan. Thain was accused of embezzling funds from her mother by diverting her mail. The National Registry of Exoneration lists inadequate legal services as a major factor contributing to her wrongful conviction. A court of appeal ruled that both the trial lawyer and defense lawyer erred by not conducting proper investigations into the matter, a factor that would have been avoided had the accused had good legal representation.

Lawyer Referral For Mail Fraud Lawsuits

If you've been accused of mail or wire fraud, don't take chances on your legal representation. Work with Pravati Networks and you'll be matched to a mail fraud lawyer who has in-depth experience working with other cases just like yours. Our mail fraud lawyers can help you avoid wrongful conviction and overly harsh sentences. With just a small retainer, you can get started with your defense today.

[Dec 10, 2016] Mail Fraud - Convictions - Punishments

Dec 10, 2016 |
Mail Fraud Convictions

To be convicted of mail fraud, one must do all of the following:

Previous Mail Fraud Cases Case #1

According to the USPS, prosecutors proved in 2002 that a Texas man sold roughly $6.5 million in fraudulent certificates of deposit (CDs) via the U.S. Mail to close to 80 investors - most of whom were senior citizens. The man, who never purchased the CDs, used portions of the money to pay earlier investors and used the rest for personal expenses. More than 45 investors are still owed a total of $3.5 million.

Case #2

The USPS states that two employees of the company that publishes Business Week were charged with conspiracy to commit securities fraud when they revealed confidential information about publicly held companies. The pair allegedly stockpiled thousands of dollars in kickbacks (through the U.S. Mail) after giving two co-defendants insider trading information from an issue of Business Week the day before the issue hit newsstands. Armed with their tips, the co-defendants bought various company stocks on a reported 43 occasions and sold it when the magazine was released-after which stock prices soared. The trades were valued at more than $2 million, while profits totaled $450,000.

Case #3

An Arizona man was convicted of mail fraud and sentenced to five years of supervised probation, nine months of home detention, and $1 million in victim restitution after executing the age-old envelope-stuffing scam. The man ran ads in national magazines, promising to send stuffing materials to everyone who mailed money for supply costs ($18 to $36) to his fictitious company. He mailed instructions on how to run an envelope-stuffing business but no actual materials.

Possible Punishments for Mail Fraud Crimes

Mail fraud, a felony, carries a sentence of up to five years in prison and/or fines of up to $250,000 when individuals are involved and up to 30 years in prison and/or $1,000,000 in fines when a financial institution is involved.

[Dec 09, 2016] Guide to Preventing Mail Fraud U.S. Postal Inspection Service 9781484827451 Books

What Is Mail Fraud?
Sweepstakes and 'Free' Prizes
'Free' Vacatons
Government Look-Alike Mail
Solicitations Disguised as Invoices
Foreign Lotteries
Cham Lottors
Charity Fraud
Insurance Fraud
Medcal Fraud
internet Fraud
Phony Inheritance Sc homos
Home Improvement and Home Repair Fraud
Investment Fraud
Fees Charged for Normally Free Services
Advance-Fee Loans
Credit Rcpar and Credit Card Schemes
Work-at-Home Offers
Distributorshp and Franchise Fraud
Phony Job Opportunities
Unsolicited Merchandise
Rcshippmg Fraud
Fake Chock Scams
How to Contact the Postal Inspection Service

Advance-Fee Loans

Have you had difficulty obtaining a personal or business loan through normal sources? If so, you may become the target of
an advance-fee loan scheme, where a con artist offers you a "guaranteed' loan for a foo paid n advance.

The swindler dams to be able to obtain a loan for you with ease from a legitimate lending institution, such as a savings and loan association. However, the swindler has no ability to secure a loan for you. Instead, the swindler steals your fee and either disappears or remains n the area to lureother unsuspecting victims while stalling you with excuses as to why your loan has not been funded.

[Dec 09, 2016] Does Hillary Know Chelsea Clintons Felon Father-In-Law Accused Of Violating Plea Deal By Unpaid Restitution - Owes His Victim

Notable quotes:
"... The National ENQUIRER ..."
Dec 09, 2016 |
With Hillary Clinton 's White House run on the horizon, has learned that the skeletons in her husband, Bill 's closet are the least of her worries. Daughter Chelsea 's father-in-law, convicted felon Ed Mezvinsky , is under fire from his former fraud victims . According to the unlucky dupes, Mezvinsky stole more than $10 million - and has yet to pay it back!

Mezvinsky, the father of Chelsea's husband, Marc , served five years in federal prison after pilfering $10 million from investors. He was released in April 2008, but a special investigation by The National ENQUIRER uncovered the fact that he's currently accused of being in violation of his plea agreement - because he hasn't paid back his victims!

"It's a little irritating that he brags about his son's [$10.5 million] apartment when his son should loan him the money to pay back his debt!" one angry victim, Dr. Jason Theodosakis , told The ENQUIRER . "He could borrow [the restitution] from his son's in-law

[Dec 09, 2016] You Have the Right to Remain Innocent James Duane

Notable quotes:
"... Nobody of sound mind can dispute that there is something fundamentally wrong, and intrinsically corrupt, about a legal system that encourages police officers and prosecutors to do everything in their power to persuade you and your children (no matter how young or old) to "do the right thing" and talk-when they tell their own children the exact opposite. ..."
Dec 09, 2016 |

Everywhere 1 go, 1 just about always make a point to ask how many people in attendance have a parent who is a police officer or a prosecutor-and of those attendees, what their parents have advised them about the Fifth Amendment. In almost every group, there is at least one student who tells me that his father is a state trooper, or that her mother is a prosecu- tor. Every time this happens, without exception, the student in question has told me basically the same thing: "Years ago, my parents explained to me that if I were ever approached by a law enforcement officer, I was to call them immediately, and they made sure that I would never agree to talk to the police." (Most of these young people also volunteered that their parents in law enforcement advised them to never allow an officer to search their apartment or car, but that is the subject for another book.) Not once have I met the child of a member of law enforcement who had been told anything different. Everyone who is privileged enough to know how the criminal justice system operates in America would never advise their loved ones to waive the right to remain silent in the face of a criminal investigation. We routinely see people in power, such police officers and government officials, pleading the fifth (like Lois Lerner, the former director of the Internal Revenue vice's Exempt Organizations unit, who asserted her Fifth

Amendment privilege and refused to answer any questions when she was summoned before a congressional committee in 2013).' These are officials who have made a career out of talking people into waiving their right to remain silent, but when the questions are suddenly directed at them, they will not waive their own.

You need to pause for a moment and let that sink in. It doesn't matter whether you are a liberal or conservative. I do not even care whether you are heartless enough to remain unconcerned about the fact that our legal system routinely convicts innocent people. Nobody of sound mind can dispute that there is something fundamentally wrong, and intrinsically corrupt, about a legal system that encourages police officers and prosecutors to do everything in their power to persuade you and your children (no matter how young or old) to "do the right thing" and talk-when they tell their own children the exact opposite. I intend to bring to an end, once and for all, that obscene double standard in the American criminal justice system that allows only the citizens who are in the know to protect themselves from a legal system that is designed to prey upon

... ... ...

If a police officer encounters you in one of those moments, he or she has every right to ask you two simple questions. Memorize these two questions so you will not be tempted to answer any others:

Who are you?

What are you doing right here, right now?

If you are ever approached by a police officer with those two questions, and your God-given common sense tells you that the officer is being reasonable in asking for an explana- tion, don't be a jerk. Even if you are angry and frustrated about being locked out of your house, try to see this from the police's point of view. They are only looking out for your best interests. Would you want them to ask those same questions of any other individual caught breaking in through one of your windows, or watching your family? Of course you would. If you have an innocent explanation for your presence at that time and in that place, tell the police about it. Tell them that it is your own house. Or tell them that you are in an empty courthouse in the middle of the night because you work there, and show diem your identification. They will appreciate your cooperation, and that will be the end of it. If you unreasonably refuse to answer those two questions, they might put you under arrest, and I would not blame them.

... ... ... ...

No, the advice contained in this book-the same advice that police officers give their own children-is not based on any assumptions or suspicions about the overall morality of police officers. It is based on two simple but unavoidable facts about every police officer, including the most noble and virtu- ous. The only two problems I have with die police (although they are very big problems) are these: The first problem with the police is that they are only human. They cannot know everything. For instance, when confronted with opposing accounts of the same situation, they cannot know who is really telling them the truth. And because they are only human, police officers, just like all of us, do not like to be embarrassed by admitting that they made some sort of a mistake, especially if it concerns a matter so serious that it might lead to diem being sued. They do not even like to admit it to themselves. That is why police officers, like all humans, are subject to a powerful phenomenon that psychologists call confirmation bias. This means that after they have come to a conclusion, especially if it is a conclusion that they have publicly announced (for example, by arresting someone and accusing him of a serious crime), it is very difficult for them to admit that perhaps they have made a terrible mistake. It is much easier and more comfortable for them to convince them- selves that they did not make a mistake, and that their initial accusations were correct. Their memories will gladly cooperate in that effort. Even if they are not aware of how it is hap- pening, they might recall nonexistent details to coincide with and corroborate the story they have already begun persuading themselves to believe.

Just like the rest of us, police are frustrated by important and difficult questions for which there are no discernable answers. And, just like us, they love the powerful psychological satisfaction that comes from convincing themselves that in fact the riddle lias been solved. When a terrible crime is committed, every human being with a heart desperately wants to believe that we can find the offender. And if there is only one suspect available to us, most of us are surprisingly good at convincing ourselves that maybe he or she really is the one to blame, and that perhaps the circumstantial evidence against him or her is fairly powerful after all.

But the fact that police officers are "only human" is only one of the two problems. The other problem is that they are working within a legal system that is highly imperfect. That is not their fault, because they did not design the system. But as this hook will demonstrate, it is a broken svstcm that relies deception when they are interviewing criminal suspects. They receive sophisticated training at the police academy in methods of interrogation that arc remarkably successful in getting guilty people to make confessions and incriminating statements.4 You cannot blame them for using such methods-after all, we all agree that guilty people (at least the dangerous ones) ought to be caught and put behind bars-but the problem is that these methods of calculated deception are too effective. They do not merely work on the guilty. At least some of these methods, it turns out, have proven to be just as effective in getting innocent people to make incriminating statements, and sometimes even outright confessions.

Do not think for a minute that you can trust a police officer who seems to be open minded and undecided about whether he will arrest you after you are finished with an "inter- view"-the police are trained to act that way, to get you to talk with them for many hours until you finally give up in exhaustion. "The most recent and comprehensive investigation, which took a careful look at 250 prisoners exonerated by DNA evidence, found that 16 percent of them made what's called a false confession: admitting their commission of a crime that they did not commit.5 Those are the cases in which the defendant actually confessed; in many more cases, the innocent suspect denied all guilt, sometimes for hours, but still gave the police a statement that was then used to help convict him.

Aaron C. Brown TOP 1000 REVIEWER VINE VOICE on September 20, 2016 Format: Paperback

Shocking and persuasive, but light on practical advice

This is an excellent short book if you are interested in all the ways answering questions from the police can destroy your life. The author makes clear that the most innocuous questions have led to wrongful convictions and life sentences (there are no examples of people actually executed as a result, but that's most likely because once someone is dead there is less effort to exonerate them).

The book is loaded with stories of people convicted of murder and rape solely on the basis of innocent answers given in police questioning without a lawyer present, who were later proven innocent by DNA evidence or subsequent confession by the real perpetrator (no doubt this occurs with other crimes as well, but DNA evidence is less likely to overturn convictions in those cases). Some of these cases appear to involve police or prosecutor fraud, but most of them seem to be the operation of standard police training.

Our criminal justice system would fall apart unless most guilty people confessed, or at least gave police enough information to prove a case. For that reason, police are carefully trained in tricks and pressures to get convictions, and these techniques can work on innocent people as well as guilty.

Courts have given wide discretion to the police to lie and cheat, and to prosecutors to use assertions of Constitutional rights against defendants. Moreover people's natural instincts to help law enforcement, to be polite, to trust anyone acting friendly and to seek comfort in highly stressful situations are used against them. None of this is new, of course.

The classic Jimmy Steward noir film Call Northside 777 is based closely on a real 1932 case in which the police arrested a man fingered by organized crime, moved him from station house to station house every two hours to keep him from his lawyer, questioned him continuously for 36 hours without sleep, and convicted him mainly on the basis to two extremely minor inconsistencies in his answers that had nothing to do with the crime (he said he was shelling walnuts at the time when his wife said he was pitting dates, he said a friend dropped by because he'd had a fight with his father, the friend said there was no particular reason). The three witnesses failed to identify him in a line-up, so the police falsified the arrest record to show that he had been arrested a day later, pressured one of the witnesses to identify him, and claimed that was the first line-up.

Even with all these facts, the police, the mayor, the prosecutor and the governor of the state exerted enormous pressure on the reporters investigating twelve years later to drop the story. The system hates to admit it was wrong, even in the most obvious and egregious cases. Unfortunately, the book does little more than identify the issues and give the simple advice to say literally nothing except, "I want a lawyer."

In one paragraph the author acknowledges that it's okay to answer police questions about who you are (although he doesn't say this, this is a legal requirement in about half the states, so failing to answer can get you arrested) and what you are doing at the moment; but to demand a lawyer before answering any questions about the past or anything else. This is fine advice for most guilty people, or people who believe they are suspected of serious crimes, but it doesn't cover all cases. For example, suppose you are walking down the street and a police officer stops you to ask if you saw a car driving north at high speed a block or two back.

While it's possible that you're a suspect in a major crime and admitting you saw the car will be the crucial evidential link that convicts you, it's a lot more likely that the police are looking for a fleeing felon or a hit-and-run driver, and it's in the public interest, and your interest, to help them.

For a trickier example, consider the situation described in the book American Justice? You've swerved your car to avoid a child running in the road, and hit a parked car. When the police arrive, the child says you tried to hit him. At this point, the police officers have a problem. If they laugh it off and you go mow down a few other pedestrians, they're in big trouble.

But if they bring in an adult on a hard-to-believe charge on the basis of an accusation by a child, they can look pretty silly. The stakes are very high for you. If you are arrested, as the woman was in the real case, things will start stacking up against you, on top of the expense and humiliation of the arrest.

All the neighbors will hear is that you've been arrested for trying to kill a child, they will immediately remember all kinds of strange or threatening things about you--it's human nature.

The police will have to justify their decision, they will remember you "trembling with barely suppressed rage" and giving "evasive and inconsistent accounts." In the actual story, the child's father used the arrest as an excuse to institute civil commitment proceedings, and was successful in forcing a two-week confinement for evaluation; even though the doctors found nothing and criticized the judge for ordering the evaluation; a lot of damage was done. So what to do? If the child seems calm and credible, and you say nothing but "I want a lawyer," the police officers are likely to take it as an admission of guilt and start looking for ways to build the case against you.

If you say, "That's silly, officer, the child ran suddenly into the street and I swerved to avoid him," you have a much better chance of avoiding arrest.

But if you are arrested, that statement could prove problematic in your defense, and certainly cannot help you. I could also be misremembered as something like, "I can't be expected to avoid every silly child who runs into the street" (in this respect, body cams can be a great help to the innocent).

Moreover it's going to lead to questions like, "Why do you think the child would accuse you," and "Have you ever been in accidents before," that are more dangerous.

I think the author's perspective is distorted a bit by being a defense attorney. He only gets involved in these cases when someone is seriously suspected of a major crime or arrested.

If you know you're going to be arrested, the less you say the better. But if answering questions keeps you out of jail, or keeps the police focused on building cases against others, you win and you may never hire an attorney. So read this book for the cautionary tales. It's well-written and shocking.

If you plan to commit crimes, or if for some reason you expect to be suspected, the book has all the advice you need. But for most people it only tells you what not to do, it's not much help for deciding what to do.

Braden Lynch on October 24, 2016 Format: MP3 CD Verified Purchase

Fantastic insights that will make your blood boil

One observation that cops and judges advise their own children to shut up and get a lawyer while expecting us citizens to do otherwise speaks volumes. The miscarriages of justice and the perversion of the justice system highlighted will make you never want to speak to a policeman ever again.

There is no upside to interactions with law enforcement is the well supported theme. I know my behavior and deteriorating attitude towards LEOs has been cemented. I appreciate and respect them; I just do not want to be the object of their suspicion and I am super-law-abiding.

Charles B. Jessee on October 5, 2016 Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
''I want a lawyer.

The summary conclusion, is that the only thing you need say to the police is "I want a lawyer." But yes, there is more to it than that. The 2008 Viral Video should be watched, as should the 2016 CATO Institute video promoting and discussing this book.

The times, they are a changing. How you say what you are not going to say, is as important as not saying anything. Does that have you wondering? It should. Honest people at the right place, wrong place, right time, wrong time.

What they say and don't say might mean the police just walk away with hardly a nod, or life in jail, if not death row. Got your attention yet?

[Dec 07, 2016] We the Prisoners The Demise of the Fourth Amendment Society, Privacy Invasion, Police brutality

Dec 07, 2016 |
John W. Whitehead by Otto Battista on October 6, 2016 at 7:52 AM

"Our carceral state banishes American citizens to a gray wasteland far beyond the promises and protections the government grants its other citizens When the doors finally close and one finds oneself facing banishment to the carceral state -the years, the walls, the rules, the guards, the inmates-reactions vary. Some experience an intense sickening feeling. Others, a strong desire to sleep. Visions of suicide. A deep shame. A rage directed toward guards and other inmates. Utter disbelief. The incarcerated attempt to hold on to family and old social ties through phone calls and visitations. At first, friends and family do their best to keep up. But phone calls to prison are expensive, and many prisons are located far from one's hometown As the visits and phone calls diminish, the incarcerated begins to adjust to the fact that he or she is, indeed, a prisoner. New social ties are cultivated. New rules must be understood."-Ta-Nehisi Coates, TheAtlantic

In a carceral state-a.k.a. a prison state or a police state-there is no Fourth Amendment to protect you from the overreaches, abuses, searches and probing eyes of government overlords.

In a carceral state, there is no difference between the treatment meted out to a law-abiding citizen and a convicted felon: both are equally suspect and treated as criminals, without any of the special rights and privileges reserved for the governing elite.

In a carceral state, there are only two kinds of people: the prisoners and the prison guards.

With every new law enacted by federal and state legislatures, every new ruling handed down by government courts, and every new military weapon, invasive tactic and egregious protocol employed by government agents, "we the people"-the prisoners of the American police state-are being pushed that much further into a corner, our backs against the prison wall.

This concept of a carceral state in which we possess no rights except for that which the government grants on an as-needed basis is the only way I can begin to comprehend, let alone articulate, the irrational, surreal, topsy-turvy, through-the-looking-glass state of affairs that is being imposed upon us in America today.

Indeed, we are experiencing much the same phenomenon that journalist Ta-Nehisi Coates ascribes to those who are banished to a " gray wasteland far beyond the promises and protections the government grants its other citizens " : a sickening feeling, a desire to sleep, hopelessness, shame, rage, disbelief, clinginess to the past and that which is familiar, and then eventually resignation and acceptance of our new "normal."

All that we are experiencing-the sense of dread at what is coming down the pike, the desperation, the apathy about government corruption, the deeply divided partisanship, the carnivalesque political spectacles, the public displays of violence, the nostalgia for the past-are part of the dying refrain of an America that is fading fast.

No longer must the government obey the law.

Likewise, "we the people" are no longer shielded by the rule of law.

While the First Amendment-which gives us a voice-is being muzzled, the Fourth Amendment-which protects us from being bullied, badgered, beaten, broken and spied on by government agents-is being disemboweled.

For instance, in a recent 5-3 ruling in Utah v. Strieff , the U.S. Supreme Court opened the door for police to stop, arrest and search citizens without reasonable suspicion or probable cause, effectively giving police a green light to embark on a fishing expedition of one's person and property, rendering Americans completely vulnerable to the whims of any cop on the beat.

In a blistering dissent, Justice Sonia Sotomayor blasted the court for holding "that the discovery of a warrant for an unpaid parking ticket will forgive a police officer's violation of your Fourth Amendment rights ." Sotomayor continued :

This Court has allowed an officer to stop you for whatever reason he wants-so long as he can point to a pretextual justification after the fact. That justification must provide specific reasons why the officer suspected you were breaking the law, but it may factor in your ethnicity, where you live, what you were wearing, and how you behaved. The officer does not even need to know which law you might have broken so long as he can later point to any possible infraction-even one that is minor, unrelated, or ambiguous.

The indignity of the stop is not limited to an officer telling you that you look like a criminal. The officer may next ask for your "consent" to inspect your bag or purse without telling you that you can decline. Regardless of your answer, he may order you to stand "helpless, perhaps facing a wall with [your] hands raised." If the officer thinks you might be dangerous, he may then "frisk" you for weapons. This involves more than just a pat down. As onlookers pass by, the officer may "'feel with sensitive fingers every portion of [your] body. A thorough search [may] be made of [your] arms and armpits, waistline and back, the groin and area about the testicles, and entire surface of the legs down to the feet.'"

If you still can't read the writing on the wall, Sotomayor breaks it down further: "This case allows the police to stop you on the street, demand your identification, and check it for outstanding traffic warrants- even if you are doing nothing wrong So long as the target is one of the many millions of people in this country with an outstanding arrest warrant, anything the officer finds in a search is fair game for use in a criminal prosecution. The officer's incentive to violate the Constitution thus increases "

Just consider some of the many other ways in which the Fourth Amendment-which ensures that the government can't harass you, let alone even investigate you, without probable cause-has been weakened and undermined by the courts, the legislatures and various government agencies and operatives.

Breath tests, blood draws : Americans have no protection against mandatory breathalyzer tests at a police checkpoint, although mandatory blood draws violate the Fourth Amendment ( Birchfield v. North Dakota ).

Ignorance of the law is defensible if you work for the government: Police officers who violate the law can be granted qualified immunity if they claim ignorance of the law ( Heien v. North Carolina ). That rationale was also applied to police who clearly used excessive force when they repeatedly tasered a pregnant woman during a routine traffic stop and were granted immunity from prosecution

High–speed car chases: Police officers can use lethal force in car chases without fear of lawsuits ( Plumhoff v.Rickard ).

No–knock raids: Police can perform a "no-knock" as long as they have a reasonable suspicion that knocking and announcing their presence, under the particular circumstances, would be dangerous or futile or give occupants a chance to destroy evidence of a crime ( Richards v. Wisconsin ). Legal ownership of a firearm is also enough to justify a no-knock raid by police ( Quinn v. Texas ).

Warrantless searches by police : Police can carry out warrantless searches on our homes based on a "reasonable" concern by police that a suspect (or occupant) might be attempting to destroy evidence, fleeing or hurt, even if it's the wrong house ( Kentucky v. King ). Police can also, without a warrant, search anyone who has been lawfully arrested ( United States v. Robinson ) as well as their property post-arrest ( Colorado v. Bertine ) and their vehicle ( New Yorkv.Belton ), search a car they suspect might contain evidence of a crime ( Chambers v. Maroney ), and search a home when the arrest is made on its premises ( Maryland v. Buie ).

Forced DNA extractions: Police can forcibly take your DNA, whether or not you've been convicted of a crime. Innocent or not, your DNA will then be stored in the national FBI database ( Maryland v. King ).

Strip searches : Police can subject Americans to virtual strip searches, no matter the "offense" ( Florence v. BoardofChosen Freeholders of the County of Burlington ). This "license to probe" is now being extended to roadside stops, as police officers throughout the country have begun performing roadside strip searches-some involving anal and vaginal probes-without any evidence of wrongdoing and without a warrant.

Seizures : For all intents and purposes, you're "seized" within the meaning of the Fourth Amendment from the moment an officer stops you ( Brendlin v. California ).

Search warrants on a leash : Police have free reign to use drug-sniffing dogs as "search warrants on leashes," justifying any and all police searches of vehicles stopped on the roadside ( Florida v. Harris ), but the use of a K-9 unit after a reasonable amount of time has passed during a stop does violate the Fourth Amendment ( Rodriguez v. UnitedStates ).

Police and DUI Checkpoints: Police can conduct sobriety and "information-seeking" checkpoints ( Illinois v. Lidster and Mich. Dep't of State Police v. Sitz ).

Interrogating public transit passengers : Police officers are free to board a bus, question passengers, and ask for consent to search without notifying them of their right to refuse ( U.S v. Drayton ).

Warrantless arrests for minor criminal offenses : Police can arrest you for minor criminal offenses, such as a misdemeanor seatbelt violation, punishable only by a fine ( Atwater v. City of Lago Vista ).

Stop and identify: Refusing to answer when a policeman asks "What's your name?" can rightfully be considered a crime. No longer do Americans, even those not charged with any crime, have the right to remain altogether silent when stopped and questioned by a police officer ( Hiibel v. Sixth Judicial District Court of the State of Nevada ).

Traffic stops: As long as police have reasonable cause to believe that a traffic violation occurred, they may stop any vehicle ( Whren v. U.S. ). If probable cause justifies a vehicle search, then every part of the vehicle can be searched ( U.S. v. Ross ). A vehicle can be stopped even if the driver has not committed a traffic offense ( U.S. v. Cortez ).

Anonymous tips, careful driving, rigid posture and acne: Police officers can stop cars based only on "anonymous" tips ( Navarette v. California ). Police can also pull you over if you are driving too carefully, with a rigid posture, taking a scenic route, and have acne ( U.S. v. Westhoven ).

What many Americans fail to understand is the devastating amount of damage that can be done to one's freedoms long before a case ever makes its way to court by government agents who are violating the Fourth Amendment at every turn. This is how freedoms, long undermined, can give way to tyranny through constant erosion and become part of the fabric of the police state through constant use.

Phone and email surveillance, databases for dissidents, threat assessments, terror watch lists, militarized police, SWAT team raids, security checkpoints, lockdowns, roadside strip searches: there was a time when any one of these encroachments on our Fourth Amendment rights would have roused the public to outrage. Today, such violations are shrugged off matter-of-factly by Americans who have been assiduously groomed to accept the intrusions of the police state into their private lives.

So when you hear about the FBI hacking into Americans' computers without a warrant with the blessing of the courts, or states assembling and making public terror watch lists containing the names of those who are merely deemed suspicious, or the police knocking on the doors of activists in advance of political gatherings to ascertain their plans for future protests, or administrative government agencies (such as the FDA, Small Business Administration, Smithsonian, Social Security, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, U.S. Mint, and Department of Education) spending millions on guns and ammunition , don't just matter-of-factly file it away in that part of your brain reserved for things you may not like but over which you have no control.

It's true that there may be little the average person can do to push back against the police state on a national level, but there remains some hope at the local level as long as we retain a speck of our independence and individuality-as long as we can resist the defeatist sense of double-consciousness (a phrase coined by W. E. B. Du Bois in which we view ourselves as inferior through the prism of our oppressors)-as long as we continue to cry out for justice for ourselves and those around us-as long as we refuse to be shackled and made prisoners-and as long as we continue to recognize that the only way the police state can truly acquire and retain power is if we relinquish it through our negligence, complacence and ignorance.

Unfortunately, we have been utterly brainwashed into believing the government's propaganda and lies. Americans actually celebrate with perfect sincerity the anniversary of our independence from Great Britain without ever owning up to the fact that we are as oppressed now-more so, perhaps, thanks to advances in technology-than we ever were when Redcoats stormed through doorways and subjected colonists to the vagaries of a police state.

You see, by gradually whittling away at our freedoms-free speech, assembly, due process, privacy, etc.-the government has, in effect, liberated itself from its contractual agreement to respect our constitutional rights while resetting the calendar back to a time when we had no Bill of Rights to protect us from the long arm of the government.

Aided and abetted by the legislatures, the courts and Corporate America, the government has been busily rewriting the contract (a.k.a. the Constitution) that establishes the citizenry as the masters and agents of the government as the servants. We are now only as good as we are useful, and our usefulness is calculated on an economic scale by how much we are worth-in terms of profit and resale value-to our "owners."

Under the new terms of this one-sided agreement, the government and its many operatives have all the privileges and rights and "we the prisoners" have none.

As Sotomayor concluded in her ringing dissent in Utah v. Strieff :

By legitimizing the conduct that produces this double consciousness, this case tells everyone, white and black, guilty and innocent, that an officer can verify your legal status at any time. It says that your body is subject to invasion while courts excuse the violation of your rights. It implies that you are not a citizen of a democracy but the subject of a carceral state, just waiting to be cataloged . We must not pretend that the countless people who are routinely targeted by police are "isolated." They are the canaries in the coal mine whose deaths, civil and literal, warn us that no one can breathe in this atmosphere. They are the ones who recognize that unlawful police stops corrode all our civil liberties and threaten all our lives. Until their voices matter too, our justice system will continue to be anything but.

[Dec 07, 2016] The Prison Industry in the United States Big Business or a New Form of Slavery

Notable quotes:
"... Human rights organizations, as well as political and social ones, are condemning what they are calling a new form of inhumane exploitation in the United States, where they say a prison population of up to 2 million – mostly Black and Hispanic – are working for various industries for a pittance. For the tycoons who have invested in the prison industry, it has been like finding a pot of gold. They don't have to worry about strikes or paying unemployment insurance, vacations or comp time. All of their workers are full-time, and never arrive late or are absent because of family problems; moreover, if they don't like the pay of 25 cents an hour and refuse to work, they are locked up in isolation cells. ..."
Dec 07, 2016 |
By Vicky Pelaez Global Research, August 28, 2016 El Diario-La Prensa, New York and Global Research 10 March 2008 Region: USA Theme: Global Economy , Law and Justice , Police State & Civil Rights

This article was first published by Global Research in March 2008

Human rights organizations, as well as political and social ones, are condemning what they are calling a new form of inhumane exploitation in the United States, where they say a prison population of up to 2 million – mostly Black and Hispanic – are working for various industries for a pittance. For the tycoons who have invested in the prison industry, it has been like finding a pot of gold. They don't have to worry about strikes or paying unemployment insurance, vacations or comp time. All of their workers are full-time, and never arrive late or are absent because of family problems; moreover, if they don't like the pay of 25 cents an hour and refuse to work, they are locked up in isolation cells.

There are approximately 2 million inmates in state, federal and private prisons throughout the country. According to California Prison Focus, "no other society in human history has imprisoned so many of its own citizens."

The figures show that the United States has locked up more people than any other country: a half million more than China, which has a population five times greater than the U.S. Statistics reveal that the United States holds 25% of the world's prison population, but only 5% of the world's people. From less than 300,000 inmates in 1972, the jail population grew to 2 million by the year 2000. In 1990 it was one million. Ten years ago there were only five private prisons in the country, with a population of 2,000 inmates; now, there are 100, with 62,000 inmates. It is expected that by the coming decade, the number will hit 360,000, according to reports.

What has happened over the last 10 years? Why are there so many prisoners?

"The private contracting of prisoners for work fosters incentives to lock people up. Prisons depend on this income. Corporate stockholders who make money off prisoners' work lobby for longer sentences, in order to expand their workforce. The system feeds itself," says a study by the Progressive Labor Party, which accuses the prison industry of being "an imitation of Nazi Germany with respect to forced slave labor and concentration camps."

The prison industry complex is one of the fastest-growing industries in the United States and its investors are on Wall Street. "This multimillion-dollar industry has its own trade exhibitions, conventions, websites, and mail-order/Internet catalogs. It also has direct advertising campaigns, architecture companies, construction companies, investment houses on Wall Street, plumbing supply companies, food supply companies, armed security, and padded cells in a large variety of colors."


According to reports by human rights organizations, these are the factors that increase the profit potential for those who invest in the prison industry complex:

. Jailing persons convicted of non-violent crimes, and long prison sentences for possession of microscopic quantities of illegal drugs. Federal law stipulates five years' imprisonment without possibility of parole for possession of 5 grams of crack or 3.5 ounces of heroin, and 10 years for possession of less than 2 ounces of rock-cocaine or crack. A sentence of 5 years for cocaine powder requires possession of 500 grams – 100 times more than the quantity of rock cocaine for the same sentence. Most of those who use cocaine powder are white, middle-class or rich people, while mostly Blacks and Latinos use rock cocaine. In Texas, a person may be sentenced for up to two years' imprisonment for possessing 4 ounces of marijuana. Here in New York, the 1973 Nelson Rockefeller anti-drug law provides for a mandatory prison sentence of 15 years to life for possession of 4 ounces of any illegal drug.

. The passage in 13 states of the "three strikes" laws (life in prison after being convicted of three felonies), made it necessary to build 20 new federal prisons. One of the most disturbing cases resulting from this measure was that of a prisoner who for stealing a car and two bicycles received three 25-year sentences.

. Longer sentences.

. The passage of laws that require minimum sentencing, without regard for circumstances.

. A large expansion of work by prisoners creating profits that motivate the incarceration of more people for longer periods of time.

. More punishment of prisoners, so as to lengthen their sentences.


Prison labor has its roots in slavery. After the 1861-1865 Civil War, a system of "hiring out prisoners" was introduced in order to continue the slavery tradition. Freed slaves were charged with not carrying out their sharecropping commitments (cultivating someone else's land in exchange for part of the harvest) or petty thievery – which were almost never proven – and were then "hired out" for cotton picking, working in mines and building railroads. From 1870 until 1910 in the state of Georgia, 88% of hired-out convicts were Black. In Alabama, 93% of "hired-out" miners were Black. In Mississippi, a huge prison farm similar to the old slave plantations replaced the system of hiring out convicts. The notorious Parchman plantation existed until 1972.

During the post-Civil War period, Jim Crow racial segregation laws were imposed on every state, with legal segregation in schools, housing, marriages and many other aspects of daily life. "Today, a new set of markedly racist laws is imposing slave labor and sweatshops on the criminal justice system, now known as the prison industry complex," comments the Left Business Observer.

Who is investing?

At least 37 states have legalized the contracting of prison labor by private corporations that mount their operations inside state prisons. The list of such companies contains the cream of U.S. corporate society: IBM, Boeing, Motorola, Microsoft, AT&T, Wireless, Texas Instrument, Dell, Compaq, Honeywell, Hewlett-Packard, Nortel, Lucent Technologies, 3Com, Intel, Northern Telecom, TWA, Nordstrom's, Revlon, Macy's, Pierre Cardin, Target Stores, and many more. All of these businesses are excited about the economic boom generation by prison labor. Just between 1980 and 1994, profits went up from $392 million to $1.31 billion. Inmates in state penitentiaries generally receive the minimum wage for their work, but not all; in Colorado, they get about $2 per hour, well under the minimum.

And in privately-run prisons, they receive as little as 17 cents per hour for a maximum of six hours a day, the equivalent of $20 per month. The highest-paying private prison is CCA in Tennessee, where prisoners receive 50 cents per hour for what they call "highly skilled positions." At those rates, it is no surprise that inmates find the pay in federal prisons to be very generous. There, they can earn $1.25 an hour and work eight hours a day, and sometimes overtime. They can send home $200-$300 per month.

Thanks to prison labor, the United States is once again an attractive location for investment in work that was designed for Third World labor markets. A company that operated a maquiladora (assembly plant in Mexico near the border) closed down its operations there and relocated to San Quentin State Prison in California. In Texas, a factory fired its 150 workers and contracted the services of prisoner-workers from the private Lockhart Texas prison, where circuit boards are assembled for companies like IBM and Compaq.

[Former] Oregon State Representative Kevin Mannix recently urged Nike to cut its production in Indonesia and bring it to his state, telling the shoe manufacturer that "there won't be any transportation costs; we're offering you competitive prison labor (here)."


The prison privatization boom began in the 1980s, under the governments of Ronald Reagan and Bush Sr., but reached its height in the 1990s under William Clinton, when Wall Street stocks were selling like hotcakes. Clinton's program for cutting the federal workforce resulted in the Justice Departments contracting of private prison corporations for the incarceration of undocumented workers and high-security inmates.

Private prisons are the biggest business in the prison industry complex. About 18 corporations guard 10,000 prisoners in 27 states. The two largest are Correctional Corporation of America (CCA) and Wackenhut, which together control 75%. Private prisons receive a guaranteed amount of money for each prisoner, independent of what it costs to maintain each one. According to Russell Boraas, a private prison administrator in Virginia, "the secret to low operating costs is having a minimal number of guards for the maximum number of prisoners." The CCA has an ultra-modern prison in Lawrenceville, Virginia, where five guards on dayshift and two at night watch over 750 prisoners. In these prisons, inmates may get their sentences reduced for "good behavior," but for any infraction, they get 30 days added – which means more profits for CCA. According to a study of New Mexico prisons, it was found that CCA inmates lost "good behavior time" at a rate eight times higher than those in state prisons.


Profits are so good that now there is a new business: importing inmates with long sentences, meaning the worst criminals. When a federal judge ruled that overcrowding in Texas prisons was cruel and unusual punishment, the CCA signed contracts with sheriffs in poor counties to build and run new jails and share the profits. According to a December 1998 Atlantic Monthly magazine article, this program was backed by investors from Merrill-Lynch, Shearson-Lehman, American Express and Allstate, and the operation was scattered all over rural Texas. That state's governor, Ann Richards, followed the example of Mario Cuomo in New York and built so many state prisons that the market became flooded, cutting into private prison profits.

After a law signed by Clinton in 1996 – ending court supervision and decisions – caused overcrowding and violent, unsafe conditions in federal prisons, private prison corporations in Texas began to contact other states whose prisons were overcrowded, offering "rent-a-cell" services in the CCA prisons located in small towns in Texas. The commission for a rent-a-cell salesman is $2.50 to $5.50 per day per bed. The county gets $1.50 for each prisoner.


Ninety-seven percent of 125,000 federal inmates have been convicted of non-violent crimes. It is believed that more than half of the 623,000 inmates in municipal or county jails are innocent of the crimes they are accused of. Of these, the majority are awaiting trial. Two-thirds of the one million state prisoners have committed non-violent offenses. Sixteen percent of the country's 2 million prisoners suffer from mental illness.

The original source of this article is El Diario-La Prensa, New York and Global Research Copyright © Vicky Pelaez , El Diario-La Prensa, New York and Global Research, 2016

[Dec 07, 2016] Bill Gross Reveals The Global Establishments Overall Plan In Eight Simple Steps Zero Hedge

Dec 07, 2016 |
Yog Soggoth ThirdWorldDude Dec 6, 2016 4:35 PM ,

Both of you make good points, but so does Gross without getting into too much detail. Fact is that we have a serious prison problem that needs to be addressed, and it all comes down to the USD, borders, laws, ect. in any argument. Crime usually goes down when people are not desparate. Look at Detroit, it has always had the bad side, but it had it's roots in manufacturing. A citizen could get a job, no matter how unskilled, at one point in time. Right now is just a time to wait until results are in to decide how to proceed, for everyone included, otherwise the individual investor could end up on the wrong end of the stick.

True Blue ThirdWorldDude Dec 6, 2016 7:02 PM ,

You both, and Bill Gross too -missed a major point. The FED, the FED and also -the FED. Its not entirely your fault that you guys missed it, although I would hope a few on ZH would see it.

First -as 'inflation' eats into people's (in real terms declining) wages, something has to fill in for the loss in the earnings/costs equation -ie more crime. Secondly (but so closely related it isn't funny) 'inflation' also lowers the bar on what is or isn't a 'felony' or 'major' crime. Look -when the gov't arbitrarily decided that any crime resulting in loss greater than $400.00 was a felony you could buy a brand new car or two brand new Harley Davidson motorcycles for less than $400.00. $400.00 was 16 ounces of pure gold! The average laborer had to work an entire year to earn that much! That is why "grand theft auto" is a felony regardless of the vehicle's value. Today, $400.00 a week will barely cover the rent, and is (in today's fix) 1/3 of one ounce of gold; yet, the laws have never been adjusted for 'inflation' -which means, as more and more things become more and more expensive, more and more 'felonies' will be committed as the threshold drops lower and lower, until a day will (soon) come where the 'money' has been debased so much that a simple loaf of bread will be so 'expensive' that its theft will be a felony . Monetary debasement 'inflation' leads into prison inflation because the laws are never adjusted for the loss of value inherent in fiat 'money' (probably because that would bring too big a spotlight on the entire Fiat scam.)

The FED 'targets' a 2% yearly 'inflation' rate, which means (by definition) a 2% increase in the number of felonies -compounded annually. And look where we are today... compare a graph of monetary debasement (inflation) from 1913 to today, and compare it to the prison population over the same time. In this case, correlation is causation.

It. Is. Just. That. Simple.

edit (in case you were wondering, if felonies were to be 'inflation adjusted' -the cutoff should be around $38,800 instead of a paltry $400.00 -what do you suppose the prison population would look like in that case?)

sgt_doom xavi1951 Dec 6, 2016 1:56 PM ,
xavi1951 makes an extraordinarily brilliant point: just look at Chile for example. Under Pinochet their rate was even smaller --- of course he disappeared (murdered, and tortured to death) over 30,000 including hapless Americans in the vicinity at the time!

One could same something similar about a number of other countries on the chart!

[Dec 06, 2016] Private Prisons Are Really Bad, but Good Enough for Immigrants, Concludes Homeland Security Report

Dec 06, 2016 |
Private immigration detention facilities may be bad - but they're probably not going anywhere.

That, in essence, was the conclusion of a much-anticipated review of the Department of Homeland Security's reliance on private companies to detain an immigrant detainee population that's reaching historic highs, which the president-elect is promising to escalate to even greater levels.

The report, produced by a panel of law enforcement, national security, and military experts, was commissioned by the Department of Homeland Security on the heels of a similar review by the Department of Justice in August. In that report, the DOJ found that private prisons "simply do not provide the same level of correctional services, programs, and resources," "do not save substantially on costs," and "do not maintain the same level of safety and security" as facilities operated by the Bureau of Prisons. The Justice Department said it would begin to gradually phase out its own private contracts - which make up a fraction of private prison companies' business when compared to federal immigration detention centers.

The DHS advisory committee report , released last week, raised similar criticisms of the billion-dollar private prison industry, but was more fatalistic in its conclusions.

"Much could be said for a fully government-owned and government-operated detention model, if one were starting a new detention system from scratch," said the report. "But of course we are not starting anew."

[Nov 24, 2016] Special Civil Part court system

Notable quotes:
"... For more state-specific information and links to your state's small claims court resources, see Small Claims Court Information and Links . ..."
Nov 24, 2016 |
presents an easy, affordable way to litigate legal disputes of less than $15,000 in value. The Small Claims division handles cases worth less than $3,000, the Special Civil Part division takes on cases between $3,000 and $5,000 in value, and the Landlord/Tenant division handles all landlord/tenant disputes. From auto repair issues to breach of contract, property damage, or personal injury, these courts are a great way for a plaintiff (the person suing) to bring a lawsuit against a defendant (the person being sued) without incurring large expenses or getting involved in complicated litigation.

While New Jersey residents may represent themselves in Special Civil Part for small claims, they can hire an attorney if they wish. Individuals and business entities can both sue and be sued under this system.

Claim Limit : Claims under $15,000 ; the Special Civil Part division handles cases $3,000 to $15,000 in value, while Small Claims handles cases under $3,000 in value.

Where to File : You should file your claim in the Special Civil Part office in the county where the defendant resides.

Cases Handled : Common disputes involve personal injury, property damage, failure to pay, auto repair disputes, and breach of contract. Landlord-Tenant disputes such as evictions are handled by a special Landlord-Tenant court.

Filing Eligibility : Business entities and individuals age 18 and over can file a small claim in New Jersey's Special Civil Part. Children under age 18 must have a qualified adult (parent or legal guardian) file on their behalf.

How to File : File a Small Claims Complaint Form with the office of the Special Civil Part. You must provide contact information and names for plaintiff and all defendants, explain the lawsuit, and state the amount claimed. You will be required to pay a small filing fee to file your claim; if you cannot afford the fee, you may file for indigent status and be exempted from this fee by a judge. Part of your filing fee will go towards service of copies of the lawsuit paperwork on the defendant(s) in question.

New Jersey Small Claims Assistance : Court clerks and legal librarians cannot provide legal advice, though they can provide forms for filing your small claim in New Jersey. For information, advice, and/or referrals, get in touch with a New Jersey small claims attorney , the New Jersey State Bar Association , or a legal aid society such as Legal Services of New Jersey .

For more state-specific information and links to your state's small claims court resources, see Small Claims Court Information and Links .

[Nov 13, 2016] Consumer Watchdog Sues Debt-Relief Firm Connecticut Consumer Advocate Protector Watchdog Ct Consumer Complaints Ct consume

Notable quotes:
"... The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau filed suit against a debt relief firm that has challenged the constitutionality of the consumer watchdog, alleging the company charged illegal fees and deceived customers. ..."
"... The CFPB lawsuit against Morgan Drexen Inc. and its CEO, Walter Ledda, alleges the firm overcharged 22,000 of its customers millions of dollars in upfront fees tied to debt-relief services. ..."
Aug 27, 2013 |

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau filed suit against a debt relief firm that has challenged the constitutionality of the consumer watchdog, alleging the company charged illegal fees and deceived customers.

The CFPB lawsuit against Morgan Drexen Inc. and its CEO, Walter Ledda, alleges the firm overcharged 22,000 of its customers millions of dollars in upfront fees tied to debt-relief services.

The agency said Morgan Drexen advertised its customers would not be charged any up-front fees, but ended up collecting them by disguising the fees as costs for bankruptcy-related services.

"This company took advantage of people who were struggling. The company charged consumers illegal fees and deceived them about the services provided," CFPB director Richard Cordray said in a statement.

Story by Michael Crittendon for the Wall Street Journal.

[Nov 13, 2016] Debt-Relief Scheme Cost Consumers $67 Million in Illegal Fees by Jonathan Floyd and David N. Anthony

Notable quotes:
"... The CFPB alleges that "Defendants' marketers lure consumers into signing up for debt settlement services by falsely promising that consumers will be represented by local attorneys and that they will negotiate with consumers' creditors to settle their debts. Defendants are debt settlement veterans who joined forces after federal law changed to prevent fraud by banning the taking of up-front fees before settling consumers' debts. In an apparent attempt to circumvent that new law, Defendants began claiming that they provide legal representation," but continued charging consumers up-front fees for debt relief services. ..."
"... The CFPB estimates that 21,000 consumers across the country have paid more than $67 million in unlawful advance fees to World Law, who ultimately provide little or none of the services promised to consumers. According to the agency, 99 percent of World Law's customers were made to pay illegal upfront fees, including a $199 initial fee, a monthly attorney service fee of $85, and other "bundled legal service fees" that ranged from 10 to 15 percent of the consumers' outstanding debt. ..."
Sep 30, 2015 |

On September 2, the United States District Court of the Southern District of Florida granted multiple motions for temporary restraining orders (TROs) by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in the matter of Consumer Financial Protection Bureau v. Orion Processing, LLC, Bradley James Haskins, World Law Debt Services, LLC, and World Law Processing, LLC. The CFPB originally filed a Complaint under the Consumer Financial Protection Act of 2010 and the Telemarketing and Consumer Fraud and Abuse Prevention Act based on Defendants' violations of the CFPA and the Telemarketing Sales Rule. The TROs include an asset freeze, injunctive relief, and other equitable relief against both World Law and its principals.

The CFPB alleges that "Defendants' marketers lure consumers into signing up for debt settlement services by falsely promising that consumers will be represented by local attorneys and that they will negotiate with consumers' creditors to settle their debts. Defendants are debt settlement veterans who joined forces after federal law changed to prevent fraud by banning the taking of up-front fees before settling consumers' debts. In an apparent attempt to circumvent that new law, Defendants began claiming that they provide legal representation," but continued charging consumers up-front fees for debt relief services.

The CFPB estimates that 21,000 consumers across the country have paid more than $67 million in unlawful advance fees to World Law, who ultimately provide little or none of the services promised to consumers. According to the agency, 99 percent of World Law's customers were made to pay illegal upfront fees, including a $199 initial fee, a monthly attorney service fee of $85, and other "bundled legal service fees" that ranged from 10 to 15 percent of the consumers' outstanding debt.

According to the CFPB, World Law and its affiliates made false representations about the quality and level of service World Law purported to provide. Consumers rarely, if ever, met or communicated with actual lawyers and, "[a]s a result, consumers paid millions of dollars in illegal fees and suffered additional harms, including being subjected to collection calls, lawsuits, late fees and lower credit scores," the agency said.

According to court documents, World Law, Orion Processing, and Family Capital have all entered into bankruptcy.

[Nov 13, 2016] CFPB Wins Final Judgment Against Morgan Drexen for Illegal Debt-Relief Scheme Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

Mar 18, 2016 |
Court Rules that Morgan Drexen and Walter Ledda Charged Illegal Upfront Fees and Deceived Consumers


At the request of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, a federal district court entered a final judgment this week against debt relief company Morgan Drexen, Inc., resolving a lawsuit filed by the CFPB in August 2013. The Bureau's lawsuit against Morgan Drexen alleged that the company charged illegal upfront fees and deceived consumers. The court found that the company violated federal law, prohibited Morgan Drexen from collecting any further fees from its customers, and ordered it to pay $132,882,488 in restitution and a $40 million civil penalty. This decision follows a stipulated final judgment against Morgan Drexen's president and chief executive officer, Walter Ledda, that the court approved in October. The court found that Ledda violated federal law, banned him from providing debt relief services, and required him to pay restitution and a civil money penalty.

"The CFPB's victory sends a strong message that debt relief companies break the law when they defraud struggling consumers, and those actions have consequences for which we will hold them accountable," said CFPB Director Richard Cordray. "The court's orders against Morgan Drexen and Mr. Ledda ensure that they will never again violate the rights of consumers, and the significant penalties imposed reflect the severity of this illegal conduct."

Debt Relief Scheme

Morgan Drexen is a nationwide debt relief company that was founded by Walter Ledda in 2007. The CFPB sued Morgan Drexen and Ledda in 2013, alleging that they had violated the Telemarketing Sales Rule and the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act by charging illegal upfront fees for debt relief services and misrepresenting their services to consumers.

The Telemarketing Sales Rule prohibits deception in telemarketing and generally prohibits debt relief providers from charging a fee for any debt relief service until they have actually settled, reduced, or otherwise altered the terms of at least one of the consumer's debts.

When consumers signed up for Morgan Drexen's services, the company presented them with two contracts, one for debt settlement services, and the other for bankruptcy-related services. Based on its investigation, the Bureau brought suit alleging that consumers who signed up sought services for debt relief and not bankruptcy, that little to no bankruptcy work was actually performed for consumers, and that the bankruptcy-related contract Morgan Drexen presented to consumers was a ruse designed to disguise impermissible upfront fees for debt relief work.

Falsifying Evidence

In January 2015, weeks before trial was scheduled to start, the Bureau learned that Morgan Drexen had created and altered bankruptcy petitions that it submitted to the court as evidence of having provided bankruptcy services.

The CFPB informed the court of its findings and filed a motion seeking the sanction of default judgment against the company. After hearing testimony from Ledda, other Morgan Drexen representatives, and a whistleblower who exposed the company's conduct, the court issued an order in April 2015 finding that Morgan Drexen misled the court and "acted willfully and in bad faith by falsifying evidence." On the basis of its findings, the court sanctioned Morgan Drexen by entering default judgment against the company.

Shortly thereafter, in June 2015, the court issued a permanent injunction against Morgan Drexen in which it deemed that the company had charged consumers illegal upfront fees for debt relief services and violated the Telemarketing Sales Rule and Dodd-Frank Act by deceptively describing its services. The court prohibited the company from collecting any more money from customers and banned it from charging upfront fees for debt relief services. Morgan Drexen sought bankruptcy protection the day after the court issued its order, and a trustee was appointed to administer the company's shutdown and to maintain proper communication with affected consumers.

Final Judgments Against Ledda and Morgan Drexen

The court's March 16, 2016 final judgment against Morgan Drexen memorializes its June 2015 conclusion that the company violated federal law, and its ruling that the company may not collect any more advance fees for debt relief services, or any more fees at all from its customers. The final judgment also orders Morgan Drexen to:

Because Morgan Drexen has declared bankruptcy, any payment of this judgment will occur through the bankruptcy process.

The court's October 2015 final judgment against Walter Ledda contains similar findings and injunctive and monetary relief. In that judgment, the court found that Ledda and Morgan Drexen violated the Telemarketing Sales Rule and the Dodd-Frank Act by charging consumers illegal upfront fees for debt relief services, and by making deceptive statements about the company's services. Under the terms of the final judgment, Ledda will:

The court also imposed a $99 million equitable money judgment and $20 million civil money penalty against Ledda, both of which are in large part suspended based on Ledda's inability to pay. If Ledda fails to make any of the required payments or turn over his assets, or if the CFPB discovers Ledda misrepresented his financial condition, the full $99 million judgment and $20 million penalty will become due immediately.

Attorneys Found In Contempt

After the court's June 2015 order prohibiting Morgan Drexen from charging fees for debt relief services, two attorneys, Vincent Howard and Lawrence Williamson, took the reins of Morgan Drexen and continued the company's unlawful conduct. Among other things, Howard and Williamson:

When the CFPB learned of Howard and Williamson's actions, it filed a motion requesting that the court hold the attorneys and their law firms in contempt of the court's order. In October 2015, the court found that the attorneys' conduct had violated the court's order, and held the attorneys and their law firms in contempt. The court ordered the attorneys to return all payments they had received from former Morgan Drexen consumers since the court's June 2015 decision to ban Morgan Drexen from receiving such fees. The court also ruled that the attorneys will be fined $10,000 a day for each day they continue to accept fees from former Morgan Drexen consumers. The attorneys have appealed this order.

A copy of the court's final judgment against Morgan Drexen and Walter Ledda can be found at:

A copy of the civil minutes regarding the judgment can be found at:

A copy of the court's contempt order concerning the attorneys can be found at:

Important information for customers of Morgan Drexen is available at:


The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is a 21st century agency that helps consumer finance markets work by making rules more effective, by consistently and fairly enforcing those rules, and by empowering consumers to take more control over their economic lives. For more information, visit .

[Nov 13, 2016] Mail and Wire Fraud An Abridged Overview of Federal Criminal Law by Charles Doyle

It is available as PDF on Internet from
Nov 13, 2016 |

This is an abridged version of CRS Report R41930, Mail and Wire Fraud: A Brief Overview of Federal Criminal Law, by Charles Doyle, without the footnotes, appendix, quotation marks, or citations to authority found in the longer version. Related CRS reports include CRS Report R40852, Deprivation of Honest Services as a Basis for Federal Mail and Wire Fraud Convictions, by Charles Doyle.

[Nov 13, 2016] Debt Elimination Schemes

Using a debt negotiation, debt settlement, debt consolidation, or debt elimination company is usually not a good idea.
  • If you are experiencing financial difficulty, you may be tempted to use a debt relief company to help take care of your bills. Often times, settling with your creditors is a good alternative to filing bankruptcy. However, before you hire a company to help with your debts, you should first understand the differences in services that debt relief companies claim to offer, as well as the potential risks involved. This article discusses three basic types of debt relief schemes.

    Debt negotiation, or debt settlement, programs work by modifying your existing credit cards, loans, or other debts, in the following ways:

    Lump sum settlements and payment plans are frequently accepted by creditors. You can directly negotiate with them yourself, without having to use a debt relief company.

    Disadvantages to Using a Debt Settlement Company

    If you do decide to hire a debt relief company, use caution. Here's why.

    Large Up Front Fees

    Debt settlement companies often charge large fees up front for its services.

    Companies Take the Money and Run

    While it is not uncommon for debt relief companies to charge upfront fees, some disreputable companies will then disappear and never perform the promised services. Or companies promise to use some or all of the fee it charges you to pay your debts, but then pocket the money instead of paying your creditors.

    Go with a company that provides detailed disclosures on how the fee is charged and spent. Some debt settlement companies agree to defer their fee until after a settlement or payment plan has been reached.

    Payment Defaults

    A debt relief company may tell you to stop making payments to your creditors. If you have already fallen behind on payments, then this is not an issue. But if you are current on your payments, this poses a dilemma.

    Some creditors won't give you the best deal if you are a "good consumer." They have a policy of refusing to reduce balances or interest rates below a certain amount unless a borrower is in default, the theory being that you are in good financial shape if you are current on your payments. They will not agree to major reductions of balances, finance charges, or payment plans unless you show a financial hardship by way of a default, often of 90 days or more. Creditors sometimes call this being "90 days out."

    A debt relief company may exploit this industry secret by advising you to default on all of your debts for 90 days, and then use this money to pay the debt settlement company instead. But by intentionally defaulting, you risk damaging your credit history and incurring default-rate finance charges and late fees.

    If you are already having financial trouble, then this might not be a big issue for you. However, if you are not already in default, you should avoid this strategy. Here are some tips to effectively maneuver the default tango using a debt relief company:

    Related Ads Communication Shut Down

    Unfortunately, some debt relief companies will take the money and run, never once speaking with the creditors that they agreed to negotiate with on your behalf. A debt relief company may make you feel so comfortable that you stop communicating with your creditors. Don't. Stay in close communication with your creditors during the negotiation process.

    (Learn more about debt negotiation firms and debt management companies .)

    Debt Consolidation

    Some debt relief agencies offer to consolidate your debts for you. They promise to pool all of your debts together so that you make a single payment, to be shared by all of the creditors. While a consolidation of your debts can potentially save you a lot of money, there are many disadvantages.

    Debt Elimination

    Treading into fantasy territory, there are some companies that claim to completely eliminate your debts. Not to be confused with debt elimination plans that provide for controlled spending and a structured payoff of your debts, a debt elimination scheme usually involves an upfront fee for a document that purports to be a legal declaration that the debt is eliminated. Unless the person advising you is an attorney or there is some legitimate legal basis for not paying a particular debt, you should immediately walk away from any such promises.

    Consider Other Debt Relief Options

    Getting the right kind debt relief is not easy. It involves time, careful planning, and full consideration of your legal rights and financial abilities. Many debt relief schemes, even if done perfectly, may not fully address all of your problems. Despite the allure of their promises, you could wind up in worse legal and financial shape than when you started. Instead, consider other options for getting your debts under control, including:

  • [Nov 12, 2016] The OH forensic inspector

    Notable quotes:
    "... Yezzo conducted her analysis of evidence without much oversight. Her reports summarizing findings would be reviewed by her supervisors, but her actual work, methods and conclusions rarely were checked by anyone. ..."
    "... Now, defense attorneys in at least two cases have done their own investigations and believe they have proof that Yezzo's work is suspect. In one of those cases, a judge already has freed a man from prison because of credibility issues described in Yezzo's personnel file. ..."
    "... "A review of her personnel records by The Dispatch shows that colleagues and supervisors raised questions about Yezzo time and again while she tested evidence and testified in an uncounted number of murder, rape and other criminal cases in the state." ..."
    Nov 08, 2016 |

    ChiGal in Carolina November 7, 2016 at 3:14 pm

    Re the OH forensic inspector:

    Does FOP have different standards for women and men? What is a little disturbing about this piece is it seems someone's work is being called into question based on personality issues (in fact she sounds a bit Trumpish – no impulse control!)

    From the article:

    "Yezzo conducted her analysis of evidence without much oversight. Her reports summarizing findings would be reviewed by her supervisors, but her actual work, methods and conclusions rarely were checked by anyone.

    "Now, defense attorneys in at least two cases have done their own investigations and believe they have proof that Yezzo's work is suspect. In one of those cases, a judge already has freed a man from prison because of credibility issues described in Yezzo's personnel file. "

    Not clarifying whether the lack of oversight is standard procedure seems prejudicial.

    And again from the article:

    " 'There may have been issues between me and my co-workers, but it was not a circumstance where those issues fell to the analysis of evidence,' Yezzo said. 'You're trying to portray me as a prosecution expert. I testified to the results, not to try and make any points with anybody.'

    "Yezzo's direct supervisor, Daniel Cappy, defended her work. Cappy testified that Yezzo had some behavioral issues, but he stood behind the quality of her work as a forensic scientist."

    Just sayin'

    ChiGal in Carolina November 7, 2016 at 4:01 pm

    Yes, there is detail about accusations made with no evidence to support them!

    "A review of her personnel records by The Dispatch shows that colleagues and supervisors raised questions about Yezzo time and again while she tested evidence and testified in an uncounted number of murder, rape and other criminal cases in the state."

    Nice trick, implying that the questions raised related to her work while in fact the examples are all behavioral.

    Katharine November 7, 2016 at 3:45 pm

    You seem to be ignoring a lot of detail in the article. Her analyses are not being questioned because of her behavior but because experienced analysts say they were poorly performed and improperly interpreted.

    Jeremy Grimm November 7, 2016 at 3:51 pm

    The description of Yezzo's behaviors fit my layman's understanding of behaviors characteristic of a mental health issue - NOT A CRIMINAL ISSUE - not matter how her behaviors may have affected the cases she handled.

    ChiGal in Carolina November 7, 2016 at 4:07 pm

    Agreed, she would have benefited from intervention. And if it WAS affecting the quality of her work and not just her relations with colleagues, her supervisors had a duty to see that she got it or pull her from the investigations.

    My point is just that the article doesn't really provide evidence that her work was affected, only that opposition attorneys on learning of her personal issues have succeeded in making them an issue.

    And my further point is I think women are more vulnerable to this sort of thing than men.

    Jeremy Grimm November 7, 2016 at 6:33 pm

    Men are not less vulnerable to assaults on their minds. What a strange idea.

    Avoid all flavors of KoolAide.

    [Nov 12, 2016] The Obamamometers Toxic Legacy: The Rule of Lawlessness

    Nov 07, 2016 |

    By Jerri-Lynn Scofield, who has worked as a securities lawyer and a derivatives trader. She now spends most of her time in India and other parts of Asia researching a book about textile artisans. She also writes regularly about legal, political economy, and regulatory topics for various consulting clients and publications, as well as writes occasional travel pieces for The National .

    All right, all right. I can't take it any more. Yesterday I read a Facebook post that blamed the current US electoral predicament on the "pointless" 22nd Amendment. For those of you without a US Constitution handy, the 22nd Amendment is the one that limits US presidents to serving two terms.

    That Facebook post implies that without the 22nd Amendment we'd get to see a third term for the Obamamometer . That risible suggestion, combined with the incessant legacy-burnishing that he's indulged in– at least until he realized that HRC might be in trouble and started to hit the campaign trail in earnest– made me realize the time for shredding aspects of that legacy is way overdue.

    When the Obamamometer finally settles on what he'll do next– whether that would be run a sports team, become a venture capitalist, found a new religion, cure cancer, or merely hob nob with the global elite and play lots of golf, I'm sure he'll make a fine job job of it– just as he's done with his Presidency. Over the next couple of months, I intend to post occasionally on this legacy: but rather than burnishing that record, I'll indulge in a bit of legacy busting.

    First up, the rule of law and corporate crime.

    The Holder Doctrine

    Federal prosecutors, and regulatory agencies, have turned into toothless tigers when it comes to prosecuting C-suite types, and pursuing corporations seriously, for economic crimes. Both financial institutions and their management got virtually a free pass for their activities that led to the Great Recession. And not only for those, but for subsequent foreclosure abuses, LIBOR and other market manipulations, money laundering, tax scams, and doing business contrary to US sanctions policy. Yet to date, not a single C-suite type has been indicted.

    It's not just financial institutions that've received a free pass. Big Pharma, for example, has also been lucky, as have companies that have engaged in creative tax minimization strategies (Apple, anyone?). And if looked at from the perspective of legal topics, rather than corporate actors, entire areas of law– antitrust, for example– are not really relevant anymore.

    You don't have to take my word for it. No less a source than the NY Times' DealBook column– not a venue, incidentally, renowned for its trenchant, timely critiques of either Wall Street or other corporate behavior– in September lamented, Law Enforcement 'Not Winning' War on White Collar Crime . I wrote about this article in a September post and so won't rehash all the arguments I made then here. But a few points are in order.

    The lack of enforcement not only means that the guilty don't pay. It also determines what corporate strategies get pursued, which business models are developed or rejected, what attitudes corporations take to risk, and how resources get allocated to name just a few consequences. And as I'll discuss below, it also shapes how attorneys practice law, and the impact their advice carries in deterring certain types of corporate behavior.

    I never thought I'd be nostalgic for President George W. Bush's Department of Justice (DoJ). Now, I'm well aware of the scandal that ensued over Attorney General Alberto Gonzales imposing ideological litmus tests on assistant US attornies. Nonetheless, in the wake of the collapse of the dotcom bubble, the Bush DoJ actually enforced the law. It prosecuted cases and claimed scalps. Companies such as Adelphi, Enron and WorldCom all saw top-level management prosecuted, and malefactors sent to jail.

    Change We Can't Believe In

    Those who voted for Hope and Change in 2008 certainly got the change part– at least with respect to the DoJ. But when we look at the DoJ's enforcement priorities and the track record that followed, it's perhaps not the change they were hoping for. The Obamamometer's first Attorney General, Eric Holder, outlined and followed what came to be known as the Holder doctrine.

    Allow me to quote from my September post:

    [Under the Holder doctrine the DoJ eschewed corporate charges against companies and executives, instead opting for negotiated settlements (often imposing de minimis, slap-on-the wrist penalties that were significantly undersized compared to the magnitude of damage done, especially by TBTF banks and other financial predators, to name just a few).

    The DoJ under Obama's second AG, Loretta Lynch, originally followed the Holder doctrine, until that was superseded when Deputy Attorney General Sally Quillian Yates authored a memo outlining a new approach in September 2015. Under this approach, the DoJ intended to increase accountability for corporate wrongdoing, and this included an increased focus on pursuing criminal charges against responsible individuals. The DoJ sought to drive a legal wedge between individuals and the corporations for whom they worked by only allowing corporations to receive "cooperation credit" that would reduce their potential exposure (including penalties) if the corporation cooperates in surrendering as early as possible comprehensive detailed information concerning the individual misconduct.

    There's much more in a similar vein in that earlier post, for those with an interest. But the bottom line for purposes of this post is what has this supposed policy shift, from Holder's doctrine to Yates's memo, meant in practice. The short answer: bupkis. We're still waiting for the more robust enforcement approach the Yates memo supposedly heralded to kick in. As an attorney I know who specializes in white collar defense work summed it up to me, "The DoJ's walking a new walk, and talking a new talk, but nothing's really changed."

    In fact, in only two areas have we seen the DoJ take a muscular approach toward enforcement during the Obamamometer's administration, insider trading, and offenses under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA).

    Insider Trading

    US Attorney for the southern district of New York Preet Bharara has compiled an undefeated string of convictions for insider trading (some of which may be at risk of being overturned due to some appellate decisions, which are beyond the scope of this post). But as I wrote last month in The SEC Fiddles While the System Burns: Insider Trading Enforcement As Securities Law Theater , focusing on insider trading as an enforcement priority constitutes a form of securities law theater. Scare prosecutorial resources are expended on insider trading abuses, rather than being deployed to investigate, punish, and (hopefully) deter, far more serious systemic problems.

    The insider trading focus provides the illusion that the DoJ is doing something about high-level cheating. Yet it has little broader deterrent effect on stymieing the wider corporate scams that misallocate resources and erode confidence in the integrity of the system. Insider trading enforcement is usually directed at individuals, and doesn't implicate wider considerations of corporate strategy or policy. Prosecuting insider traders maintains the myth that the greatest threats to US capitalism are individual bad corporate actors, rather than anything more sweeping or systemic. Catch the bad actors, fine them or throw them in jail, and never think about any deeper problems.

    Foreign Corrupt Practices Act

    Another area highlighted as an enforcement priority is bribery and foreign corruption, with prosecutions undertaken under authority of the FCPA. Allow me to quote from a speech made by assistant attorney general Leslie R. Caldwell last week:

    The effects of foreign corruption are not just felt overseas. In today's global economy, the negative effects of foreign corruption flow back to the United States. American companies are harmed by global corruption when they are denied the ability to compete in a fair and transparent marketplace. Instead of being rewarded for their efficiency, innovation and honest business practices, U.S. companies suffer at the hands of corrupt governments and lose out to corrupt competitors.


    This is why the fight against international corruption has been, and continues to be, a core priority of the Department of Justice. It has been a core priority for the Criminal Division, and our commitment to the fight against foreign bribery is reflected in our robust enforcement record in this area, which includes charges against corporations and individuals alike from all over the world. Since 2009, the Criminal Division's Fraud Section has convicted more than 65 individuals in [FCPA] and FCPA-related cases, and resolved criminal cases against more than 65 companies with penalties and forfeiture of approximately $4.5 billion.

    Sounds reasonable, right? I mean, after all, no one would come right out in favor of more international corruption?

    But when we unpack it, we butt up against a few problems. First, to quote my contact the white collar defence specialist again. The lack of an effective DoJ deterrent has enormously complicated his practice and his ability to get his clients to understand and act on prudent legal advice. "What I've seen happening more and more in the last couple of years is the chairs of audit committees of major companies openly mocking the DoJ's enforcement capability." This leads the companies to pursue courses of action that they wouldn't dare to undertake if they worried that the DoJ would aggressively pursue securities law violations.

    Where does this leave their lawyers? Well, it often means that they must either moderate their advice, or risk losing their clients. Clients who want to do something will resist their impulses and continue to listen to what they hear as their lawyers crying wolf only for so long. Eventually, the less scrupulous among them are going to ignore the contrary advice, or get another lawyer. The lack of effective enforcement at the DoJ hinders the efforts of the best, most prudent, and most ethical members of the legal profession to practice law as we would want them to.

    So, what happens instead? Well, the most scrupulous of them will continue to give what they regard as sound legal advice (even if what some privately call the Department of Jokes does not enforce the law in a way that lends credence to that approach). But that means they often have to develop new areas of expertise when their clients beat a path away from their doors. "We have to act sometimes as shoe salesmen, flogging competence in FCPA violations, that occur in subsidiaries or with foreign suppliers," says my white collar defense specialist contact. "This work leads us to countries and legal systems we don't know well, to uncover chickenshit violations that occur far from home." Far better, he believes, would be for the DoJ to focus on law-breaking that occurs in the United States, as that could be effectively deterred by the agency refocusing its enforcement priorities. Now that would be a legacy we could all believe in.

    Bottom Line

    On the contrary, one persistent legacy of the Obamamometer is to say one thing and then do another. The DoJ has recently signalled its intention to get tougher on white collar crime. But so far, there's been no follow through on the rhetoric. Instead, we see federal prosecutors either turning a blind eye to major problems, or conducting various forms of enforcement theater– much sound and fury, but in the end, signifying nothing.

    Some legacy!

    Steve H. November 7, 2016 at 10:32 am

    " I'm sure he'll make a fine job job of it– just as he's done with his Presidency."

    " one persistent legacy of the Obamamometer is to say one thing and then do another."

    " the job of the Galactic President was not to wield power but to attract attention away from it.
    Zaphod Beeblebrox was amazingly good at his job." – D. Adams

    Portia November 7, 2016 at 11:46 am

    The Galactic President, yes. and maybe the real Ruler of the Universe is "a man living in a shack with his cat who doesn't believe anything is real or certain except that which he is seeing and hearing at that moment." [Wikipedia] Except he won't answer any of our questions

    Adams November 7, 2016 at 11:03 am

    Yeah, and Dawn Johnsen has been pretty quiet about all this over at OLC. Oh, wait.

    Mark John November 7, 2016 at 11:18 am

    Thanks. It will be a meaningful discussion to delineate what the Obama rhetoric was and what the actual policies and results were and the reasons for this.

    It was an utterly disappointing presidency in my view, and I give him no pass for not fighting for the progressive and ethical policies on which he vigorously campaigned.

    Anon November 7, 2016 at 11:38 am

    I watched the Obamarama at a 2008 campaign rally. During the speech I turned to a friend and said, "This guy is nothing more than a Slick Willy." Eight years later I look like the Oracle of Delphi. (Except this guy turned out to be slippery than Willy.)

    There is simply no end to the political psycopathy in the U.S.

    Portia November 7, 2016 at 11:48 am

    I felt the same, but then I still had "hope". LOLOLOL

    Kurt Sperry November 7, 2016 at 1:22 pm

    I was so naive back in 2008 that I bought the whole Hope and Change schtick. It's so embarrassing to think back on now in hindsight. I'll never believe a Democrat again–unless they are telling me what I don't want to hear. Lesson learned.

    oho November 7, 2016 at 1:47 pm

    ya, and i wish i could get my $80 contribution back.

    will never donate to any Democrat for the rest of my life. (ps, never have donated to the GOP)

    HopeLB November 7, 2016 at 3:20 pm

    I saw Obama in 08′. What struck me as a tell was his fawning talk about the founding father Alexander Hamilton,the pro Central Bankster. Last night they had a Federalist Historian who wrote a book about Hamilton on c-span. This historian said he wished Jefferson had never come back from France and that the US would be better off for it. These banksters are sure trying to burnish their legacy even historically. Did Goldman produce "Hamilton"?

    medon November 7, 2016 at 8:49 pm

    let us not forget Jefferson died $100,000 in debt forcing his heirs to sell Monticello

    flora November 7, 2016 at 11:47 am

    The Brains of the Obama's campaign:

    No wonder an Obama Dem operative pined for days gone by.

    cocomaan November 7, 2016 at 12:03 pm

    This passage about the Bush DOJ hit home hard.

    It prosecuted cases and claimed scalps. Companies such as Adelphi, Enron and WorldCom all saw top-level management prosecuted, and malefactors sent to jail.

    You're completely right. I cannot imagine Obama's DOJ dismantling any company so thoroughly. All we've seen out of them are settlements. Now, that's not to say that these settlements aren't a big deal (look at Deutsche Bank's, a major factor in their systemic risk) but have any companies faced the kind of scrutiny of Enron or WorldCom?

    Holder was the only AG to ever be held in contempt of Congress over his gun running insanity. And his actions on marijuana (prosecuting like a madman until CO legalized and now staying silent but not rescheduling) have been completely embarrassing and a waste of everyone's time.

    lyman alpha blob November 7, 2016 at 12:33 pm

    Yeah I actually bought a few hundred shares of Enron after the share price collapsed thinking Georgie would never let his buddy Ken Lay down. Even though I lost a few bucks I was glad to be proven wrong.

    All of these companies went belly up and somehow the world didn't end, as Holder has tried to convince us it would had he actually done his damn job.

    trgahan November 7, 2016 at 2:36 pm

    Be careful .with agencies you need to differentiate between employees, bureaucrats, and political appointees. There are undercurrents that have nothing to do with politics and lag times in political appointed staffing and such.

    As it happened in 2001-2002, outside the AG, the DOJ at the time was more Clinton's than Bush's. Bush would go on to gut the DOJ's white color crime division leaving it effectively toothless by time Obama took office.

    A more complicating factor, the entire task force that prosecuted these cases left for private firms (many now defending company actions). The DOJ's white collar institutional knowledge went to zero overnight. To replace the talent and knowledge needed to take on further cases, on a constrained enforced austerely budget is a tall order.

    Even then, those company's were other worldly idiotic in committing the offenses. What they did was the equivalent of leaving their wallet at the crime scene. Most company's aren't so careless.

    cocomaan November 7, 2016 at 7:38 pm

    This is a great point. Thank you for making it. Civil service is a very different animal than other, more corporate bureaucracies.

    crittermom November 7, 2016 at 3:58 pm

    "settlements". Gawd, how I now hate that word!
    In fact, those 'settlements' usually amounted to no more than 10% of their ill-gotten profits so there was no incentive to change their evil ways.
    AND, those 'settlements' didn't go to we victims, either.

    Still wondering what Obamer will put in his 'library'. Copies of all his empty promises that got him elected a second term?

    BradK November 7, 2016 at 4:46 pm

    Not to mention the convenient timing of the DoJ's "pivot" towards white collar crimes now that the statute of limitations has passed for all the pre-2008 criminal activities. Something about closing the barn door after the horses have run off.

    timbers November 7, 2016 at 12:21 pm

    Thank you great article. I frequently tall the young'ins that even Ronald Reagan (or was it Bush?) prosecuted the Keating 5 from the S&L crisis and even sent them to jail for a really really long time, just for shook affect in comparison to the Obamanation we have today.

    My how things have changed.

    Bugs Bunny November 7, 2016 at 12:27 pm

    Jerry-Lynn, I know this situation:

    "Clients who want to do something will resist their impulses and continue to listen to what they hear as their lawyers crying wolf only for so long."

    Usually the breaking point is when the client tells me "competitor X committed this 3 times that we know of last year and you're telling me that I have to adhere strictly to the law?"

    Or even better, they'll pull me into a meeting with some crook they've just recruited from competitor X to tell me how their lawyers advised them on how not to get caught.

    Painful. Glad I moved on.

    Sam Adams November 7, 2016 at 12:41 pm

    Do they even teach Antitrust or Sécurités Regulation in LawSkools anymore?

    Jeremy Grimm November 7, 2016 at 12:52 pm

    I respect that you moved on.
    Obama's legacy - turning Corporate attorneys into proto mob consiglieres?

    Bugs Bunny November 7, 2016 at 1:46 pm

    He's only the latest one

    Katharine November 7, 2016 at 2:07 pm

    >I respect that you moved on.
    I too. The obvious answer to that "You're telling me I have to obey the law" bs is, yes, if you want to be my client, but not everybody gives it, either literally or by their actions.

    Kokuanani November 7, 2016 at 12:39 pm

    Jerri-Lynn, I think it's "Alberto" Gonzales, although maybe his similarity to "Fredo" confused you.

    Jerri-Lynn Scofield Post author November 7, 2016 at 1:27 pm

    You're absolutely right. Just fixed it. (Thought I'd corrected the mistake before, but see that I hadn't.) Thanks for reading my work so carefully.

    Tom Stone November 7, 2016 at 2:15 pm

    I'm surprised that the GunWalker program didn't get individual attention, conspiring to illegally sell thousands of firearms to one of the most vicious criminal groups in the Americas is a big deal. Hundreds of Mexican public officials were murdered using these guns and perhaps a thousand total. Two of the .50 BMG anti materiel rifles seized at "El Chapo" Guzman's estate were sold to him at the behest of the US DOJ.
    When the DOJ is the largest single supplier of firearms to criminals, gets caught and no one goes to prison WASS

    steelhead23 November 7, 2016 at 2:44 pm

    I think you may be to harsh on Eric and Loretta. My guess regarding Obama's legal legacy is that he "would rather look forward than back," meaning that he was afraid to aggressively prosecute financial crimes for fear it could bring down the system – and I believe that fear was fed by the likes of Timothy Geithner, who as Sec. Treas. didn't want the job of liquidating firms he had done business with at the NY Fed. Hence, prosecuting Wall Street would have required the AGs to butt heads with fellow cabinet members – and while the Obamamometer understands the law well enough, he doesn't understand macroeconomics at all and was deathly afraid of causing an economic catastrophe. And please note, the literati (or those generally accepted as knowledgeable on economics) mostly shared a view that the big banks were innocent, duped by the likes of Angelo Mozilo and fraudulent borrowers. (Aside: I'd bet that even after The Big Short and Econned, most still cling to that explanation for the crisis)

    Many seem enthralled by the recent release of Hillary Clinton's emails, looking for a pay to play smoking gun. I'd be much more interested in the notes from Obama's meetings with T. Geithner in early 08. That's when the real crimes were committed.

    Wisdom Seeker November 7, 2016 at 3:56 pm

    History is going to record Obama's legacy as being the third massive credit bubble in 2 decades, together with a massive erosion in the rule of law. Obama's cowardice in failing to pursue real justice for the public, including his failure to prosecute individual criminals at the major banks, will be a major stain.

    Dot-Com bubble = fool me once, shame on you
    Housing bubble = fool me twice, shame on me
    Current bubble = fool me three times, shame on Obama

    NotTimothyGeithner November 7, 2016 at 5:59 pm

    How is it a harsh criticism? Even if we accept Obama's good intentions, what was next? It's completely deluded to say the economy would get better with rampant fraud and corruption. Screw this whole "he doesn't understand economics enough." He can read. The Founder of the Federal Reserve, Senator Glass, was a newspaper editor. Obama ran for President not a seat on the PTA. He should have quit if he couldn't handle it.

    zapster November 7, 2016 at 8:46 pm

    Remember, he was a Chicago boy. If he ever took an econ class, it was pure Friedman. And that stuff sticks like glue.

    Bob November 7, 2016 at 5:52 pm

    Such charity by many posters towards the Obama administration. But the truth is that he and his team have been hell bent on purposefully moving the Democratic Party as far to the right as they could and jettisoning all liberal, progressive, new deal thinking and supporters all the while lying through their teeth about it. And they have succeeded beyond their wildest dreams. And with the upcoming passage of TPP, TISA, and the rest, it's game over for anyone who isn't part of the billionaire clan.

    RBHoughton November 7, 2016 at 6:33 pm

    The Rule of Law is one of those things that we all suppose is A GOOD THING. It is only recently, now wealth has become so pervasive, that we see how a few dollars can buy impunity from justice. The high-powered lawyer is the latest incarnation of the papal indulgence. Prison and purgatory are optional.

    The magic reason is the burden of proof in criminal law – beyond a reasonable doubt. All the defendant has to establish is a doubt he did the dirty deed and he's off.

    There is another way of creating a respect for fairness and justice. Its the adoption of the Rule of Propriety. We no longer concern ourselves with the endless variety of means a crook will use to cheat his way to a fortune. We simply require him at all times to justify his acts. You can actually see this system operating in Asia and, whilst its under attack, it is a beautiful thing to behold.

    Elizabeth November 7, 2016 at 6:49 pm

    I never voted for Obama because I thought he was an empty suit. After enduring 8 years of George Bush, who couldn't speak coherently, anyone would have seemed like a scholar. I agree with someone upthread that Obama has eviscerated the rule of law, started more wars than any other president, protected criminal banksters, and lies about the spectacular 'recovery" we are all enjoying. The political corruption has been laid bare.

    If Hillary wins, I wonder if she'll keep the Terror Tuesdays going? One shudders to think about it.

    Mark John November 7, 2016 at 7:28 pm

    Here is a sample of Obama during the 2008 campaign. It speaks for itself.

    oh November 7, 2016 at 7:36 pm

    Thank you Jerri-Lynn for this piece. The grifter will go on to own a vulture venture fund a sports team or a strip club but he'll receive his just due from karma.

    [Nov 14, 2015] Students across U.S. march over debt, free public college

    Neoliberal college is not about education. It is about getting wealthy a head start to enforce and strengthen separation between the elite and the rest. Other can only complain... But that e fact is the many large companies invite for interview for open positions only of Ivy Leagues graduates. Other do not need to apply. So it is mostly about "Class A" and "Class B" citizens. Talent and hard work can buy buy a ticket for vertical mobility (see some stories below), but that was true in any society. Actually mobility in the USA is below average, despite MSM non-stop brainwashing of the USA citizens about "the land of opportunities", the "American Dream", etc. And exorbitant salaries of University brass is a norm now. you can't change that without changing the neoliberal system as a whole. they are no longer bound by academic ethics. Like Wall Streeters, want to get the most of the life, no matter by what means (the end justifies the means mentality). They are masters of the universe. Others (aka suckers) can go to hell.
    Notable quotes:
    "... Dealing with swiftly mounting student loan debt has been a focus of candidates vying for the White House in 2016. Democratic hopeful Bernie Sanders has vowed to make tuition free at public universities and colleges, and has pledged to cut interest rates for student loans. ..."
    "... I can see having a low, federally-subsidized interest rate on these loans....which I seem to recall having on some of my loans, but anyone wanting anything for free can take a hike, IMHO. ..."
    "... Ever visit a university in a country that has free college education for its' citizens? It's pretty austere. These kids need to think past the clever sound bytes and really consider the effect of what they are asking for. ..."
    "... What really needs to be addressed is the skyrocketing cost of college education PERIOD! At the rate it's going up pretty soon only the children of billionaires will be able to afford to go to college. ..."
    "... College tuition cannot be allowed to just continue to escalate. ..."
    "... If a high school grad can't explain in detail how much cash is needed, and how spending all that cash and time for education is going to provide a positive return on investment, he or she should not be going to college. This should be near the top of things that teens learn in high school. ..."
    "... I get really cynical about all graduates claiming they had no idea how much their loans were going to cost them. ..."
    "... If you didn't bother to read your loan docs before signing, or research likely monthly payments for your loan, that's your fault! ..."
    "... College costs went up far faster than inflation, often because colleges built fancy sports and living facilities...because they figured out these same millennials pick colleges based on those things. ..."
    "... The standard tours take students through fancy facilities that have nothing to do with quality of education. Add declining teaching loads that have decreased from 12 class hours to 3 class hours per week for a professor in the past 25 years and the rise in overhead for non-academic administration overhead positions like chief diversity and inclusion officer and you have expensive college. ..."
    "... These 'loans' are now almost all, Pell Grant underwritten. Cannot Bankrupt on, co-signers and students can lose their Social Security money if defaulting. 1.5 trillion$ of these loans have been packaged, like Home Loans, derivative. What happens to peoples retirement accounts when their Funds have investments in them, what happens to the Primary Dealers when the derivatives bubble bursts? ..."
    "... Where it is free, but only to the select, the performers, most American Students would not qualify in other countries for advanced Ed. ..."
    Nov 14, 2015 |

    Students held rallies on college campuses across the United States on Thursday to protest ballooning student loan debt for higher education and rally for tuition-free public colleges and a minimum wage hike for campus workers.

    The demonstrations, dubbed the Million Student March, were planned just two days after thousands of fast-food workers took to the streets in a nationwide day of action pushing for a $15-an-hour minimum wage and union rights for the industry.

    About 50 students from Boston-area colleges gathered at Northeastern University carrying signs that read "Degrees not receipts" and "Is this a school or a corporation?"

    "The student debt crisis is awful. Change starts when people demand it in the street. Not in the White House," said Elan Axelbank, 20, a third year student at Northeastern, who said he was a co-founder of the national action.

    ... ... ...

    "I want to graduate without debt," said Ashley Allison, a 22-year-old student at Boston's Bunker Hill Community College, at the Northeastern rally. "Community college has been kind to me, but if I want to go on, I have to take on debt."

    Dealing with swiftly mounting student loan debt has been a focus of candidates vying for the White House in 2016. Democratic hopeful Bernie Sanders has vowed to make tuition free at public universities and colleges, and has pledged to cut interest rates for student loans.

    ... ... ...

    Andrew Jackson

    Free taxpayer supported public education means more college administrators earning $200,000 or more, more faculty earning $100,000 or more working 8 months a year and more $300 textbooks. Higher education costs are a direct correlation to Federal Student Loans subsiding college bureaucracies, exorbitant salaries for college administrators and faculty.


    What fantasy world do these people live in. There is nothing for free and if you borrow tens of thousands of dollars you can't expect later that someone else will pick up your tab. Pucker up bucky, it is your responsibility.

    Furthermore, a lot of this money didn't go to education. I have read where people went back to school so they could borrow money to pay their rent, or even their car payments. As for 15 dollars an hour to sling burgers, grow up.


    Having been out of college for a few years, I am curious. I went to a State University. Tuition was high, I had to take loans, I drove a cheap 10 yr old vehicle, but it didn't kill me. My total debt was about the price of a decent new car back then.

    Today, the average student loan debt after graduation is just under $30,000. Around the price of a new car. And these kids are trying to tell us that this is too much of a burden??? Look around any campus these days, and you will see lots of $30,000 cars in the parking lots.

    I can see having a low, federally-subsidized interest rate on these loans....which I seem to recall having on some of my loans, but anyone wanting anything for free can take a hike, IMHO.


    Careful what you wish for, kiddies. It's simple math and simple economics (things I learned in school while studying instead of protesting). Every university has a maximum number of students it can support, based on the number and capacity of dorms, classrooms, faculty, etc.

    The tuition rates have always closely matched the amount of easily-accessed loans available - the easier the access to loans, the higher tuition is. The simple reason is that the universities raise tuition rates to manage the demand for their limited resources, and can always raise rates when there is more demand than there are openings for incoming students.

    Thanks to the windfall from that high tuition, today's universities have student unions, recreation facilities, gyms, pools, and lots of amenities to attract students. Imagine what they will offer when they can't jack up the tuition. Ever visit a university in a country that has "free" college education for its' citizens? It's pretty austere. These kids need to think past the clever sound bytes and really consider the effect of what they are asking for.


    Oddly enough, a majority of these students attend colleges who has sport teams sponsored by Nike, Under Armour, Adidas, or Reebok. So, should theses companies atop providing the uniforms and equipment free of charge and donate the money to make more scholarships available? Then the student athletes can purchase their own gear on their own dime. Where one group attains, another must lose. Let this be debated on college campuses and watch the students divide themselves. We will find out what is most important to them.


    What really needs to be addressed is the skyrocketing cost of college education PERIOD! At the rate it's going up pretty soon only the children of billionaires will be able to afford to go to college.

    Some junk yard dog investigative journalist needs to dig into the rising cost of college education and identify the cause. Once the cause are understood then something can be done to make college more affordable. College tuition cannot be allowed to just continue to escalate.

    just sayin'

    Seriously how do we let our children out of high school without enough information to decide if going to college is actually a good investment? If a high school grad can't explain in detail how much cash is needed, and how spending all that cash and time for education is going to provide a positive return on investment, he or she should not be going to college. This should be near the top of things that teens learn in high school.


    I get really cynical about all graduates claiming they had no idea how much their loans were going to cost them. I mean, they had enough math skills to be accepted, then graduate, from college. If you didn't bother to read your loan docs before signing, or research likely monthly payments for your loan, that's your fault!


    College costs went up far faster than inflation, often because colleges built fancy sports and living facilities...because they figured out these same millennials pick colleges based on those things. If you tour colleges, and I toured many in the past few years with my kids, you don't see a classroom or lab unless you ask.

    The standard tours take students through fancy facilities that have nothing to do with quality of education. Add declining teaching loads that have decreased from 12 class hours to 3 class hours per week for a professor in the past 25 years and the rise in overhead for non-academic administration overhead positions like "chief diversity and inclusion officer" and you have expensive college.

    If students want a cheap education, go to the junior college for general ed classes then transfer to a four-year school. It is not glamorous but it yields a quality education without a fortune in debt.


    Getting an education is obviously the biggest scam in history!!!! Look at who controls education. Look at all the Universities presidents last names then you will know what they are. I can't say it here on Yahoo because they will take my comments out for speaking the truth. These presidents make millions of $$$$$ a year off of students and parents who are slaves and work hard to pay those tuitions. Not only that but look at the owners last names of the Loan

    50 CAL

    Universities are money munching machines with no regard for how the students will repay the loans. Universities annually raise tuition rates(much of which is unnecessary) with no regard of how these young minds full of mush are going to repay the crushing debt, nor do they care. Locally one university just opened a 15 million dollar athletic center, which brings up the question, why did they need this? With that kind of cash to throw around, what wasn't at least some used to keep tuitions affordable?

    Mike D

    These 'loans' are now almost all, Pell Grant underwritten. Cannot Bankrupt on, co-signers and students can lose their Social Security money if defaulting. 1.5 trillion$ of these loans have been packaged, like Home Loans, derivative.

    What happens to peoples retirement accounts when their Funds have investments in them, what happens to the Primary Dealers when the derivatives bubble bursts?

    How are these loans to be made 'free' if existing loans bear interest? If the student of 'free education' defaults, doesn't graduate, will he owe money-will his parent, or will the 'free school' simply become a dumping ground for the youth without direction, simply housed in college's dorm rooms?
    Lots of questions and two things to keep in mind, the Banks and Teaching institutes love the idea of 'free', the students are believing there might be a free ride.. ignoring schools and Banks don't, won't and never do anything for free.

    This is not going to turn out well for consumers. Sure, Household payments of Education may drop, but the Institution of Education cannot keep even its slim success rate it has now. I don't know how educators managed to turn education into a purely self gratifying industry, giving anything to purchasers they wished for that Education loan, but never ever ever, has underwriting by the Central improved the quality of business. Complete underwriting of the important system of education at the Fed level will be a disaster.

    There will be almost zero accountability for institutes and students, we will have a more expensive system that turns out the worst grads.

    Don't try believing that other countries abilities with free Ed can be duplicated here.. not without serious socialism, a condition where qualifying for Ed advancement is determined by the Central.

    Where it is free, but only to the select, the performers, most American Students would not qualify in other countries for advanced Ed. Blanket quals are almost a condition here, American Students are in for a serious surprise. They will not be so able to buy/loan their way to college and have to excel to get into college.

    The joke is on the American student.


    i was one of seven children- i worked my way through four years of undergrad and three years of grad school with my parents only being able to pay health insurance and car insurance- i worked shelving books, busing tables, delivering pizzas and for the last five years as a parimutuel clerk at dog and horsetracks- i never got to go on spring break, do a semester at sea or take classes in europe- i graduated debt free from public universities- have no sympathy for a bunch of whiny brats who have to drive better cars than their professors and believe they are entitled to special treatment- get a job and quit acting like a bunch of welfare queens who feel they deserve entitlements


    My son is in college. Because grandpa saved his money over the years, he volunteered to pay for college costs. We hope to continue the tradition with our grandchildren and carefully save our money as well. We don't live high or purchase new. He will graduate zero dollars in debt.

    My son's college roommate comes from a very wealthy family. They own a plane - two houses - dad works on Wall Street - mom is a Doctor. He has to pay for his own education and gets loans for everything. His parents simply don't have the cash to pay for his education.

    It's priorities people! If something is worth it, you'll make it happen.

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