My Welcome to My New Students in Criminal Justice!


Welcome!

I want to welcome you to this class. I always consider these joint endeavors in which both you and I trying to learn something in a complicated and exciting field.

 

Studying criminal justice is illuminating. It is a difficult field for many reasons. It deals with subjects that may have personally affected us. It deals with injury and death, often with the most unseemly of human actions. It also deals with psychological problems of the most serious and disturbing kind.

 

Please be aware that much of what you have seen on television is rank nonsense to those educated in the field. On television and often in movies, the law is often interpreted incorrectly, serial killers are portrayed as geniuses moving effortless through the population killing at will, and forensic crime solving is portrayed as well funded and almost always successful in finding the perpetrator. We will learn better.

 

Criminal justice in America is executed through thousands of law enforcement agencies in a bewildering set of jurisdictions often governed by contradictory and controversial laws. That it works at all is surprising and that is that it has serious problems a given.

 

You are going to be the future of criminal justice. As professionals, you will advance to become decision and policy makers. The understanding you acquire now may very well change the lives of thousands in the course of your life time.

 

I salute your willingness to engage in this difficult area of study and a lifetime of service to society at large.

 

James Pilant

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Lessons from the Brooklyn Groper – Falsifying Crime Reports – Salon.com


This story talks about an obvious sexual assault with multiple witnesses and a video of the incident which the police have tried very hard to ignore.

They don’t want to investigate it because it will throw off their successful record of reduced rapes. The numbers are more than important than actually doing police work.

It is appalling: another police department manipulating crime data by falsifying their crime reports.  You would have thought the seriousness of that kind of manipulation in Puerto Rico would have caused other departments to become cautious but apparently not.

When crime reports are little more than a collection of self serving lies, the crime statistics they generate are meaningless nonsense.

But that nonsense has serious consequences.

It’s major factor in budget allocations. If there are few rapes reported than there is less money for that kind of enforcement and police will be diverted to other duties. The city may provide few rape kits and counseling for victims.

The media is, of course, influenced by this train of events. Salutory articles delineating the new wonderful statistics of falling numbers of rapes are published. The major and police are praised as conquering heroes. The only problem is that the rapists can operate with less impediment, their victims will multiply and the victims’ chances of any justice become more and more remote.

James Pilant

Lessons from the “Brooklyn Groper” – Violence Against Women – Salon.com

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Typical academic consideration of police lying (via Allcoppedout’s Blog)


Here we discuss police lying and the legal fictions that figure so much in the language and practice of criminal justice. I like this paragraph –

My own belief is we are scared of transparency, partly because all our cupboards hide skeletons. When the ‘red witch’ placed at the heart of the hacking scandal admitted she knew her organization had paid police officers, this was seen as a blunder and admission of ‘criminality’. This is not the right approach and seems to be putting people we want to tell the truth in the same position as the police officer having to ‘game’ in the legal system.

I agree we do not value the truth so much as we value playing some strange kind of game designed to elude responsibility and honor.

James Pilant

Police lying is not best described as a “dirty little secret.”‘ For instance, police lying is no “dirtier” than the prosecutor’s encouragement or conscious use of tailored testimony2 or knowing suppression of Brady material;3 it is no more hypocritical than the wink and nod of judges who regularly pass on incredible police testimony4 and no more insincere than the demagogic politicians who decry criminality in our communities, but will not legisl … Read More

via Allcoppedout’s Blog

More hidden and ugly truth about the Marcoses revealed (via Quierosaber’s Blog)


I share the author’s concerns. After their wanton looting of the Philippines, they should not be welcome in any civilized society.

James Pilant

More hidden and ugly truth about the Marcoses revealed The family of the notorious Filipino strongman, Ferdinand Marcos, has been back in the country for sometime now, accepted and forgiven. As if they were the ones wronged and not the entire nation and its people physically subjugated, oppressed and robbed by them during the despot’s 20-year rule, the short-lived m … Read More

via Quierosaber's Blog

“War on drugs” is a failure in many ways (via Eideard)


Generally speaking, I do not consider drugs, in this case an illegal activity, a business ethics problem. However the private prison system is a business ethics problem. I have come across on more than one occasion, situations in which the counties and congressional districts in which private prisons exist, have opposed liberalizing the drug laws away from imprisonment and toward other options for fear of losing jobs.

I would like to see a debate over what drug laws are proper that does not in some way spin around local employment at private prisons. That’s not how to make good decisions.

James Pilant

"War on drugs" is a failure in many ways In a step few politicians would take, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle…declared the nation’s decades-old war on drugs a failure… “Rather than invest in detaining people in the Cook County Jail at almost $150 a day . . . we need to invest in treatment, education and job-skills training. That’s the only way . . . we are going to reduce crime and stabilize our communities,” she said… “We all know that the war on drugs has failed to … Read More

via Eideard

“War on drugs” is a failure in many ways (via Eideard)


Generally speaking, I do not consider drugs, in this case an illegal activity, a business ethics problem. However the private prison system is a business ethics problem. I have come across on more than one occasion, situations in which the counties and congressional districts in which private prisons exist, have opposed liberalizing the drug laws away from imprisonment and toward other options for fear of losing jobs.

I would like to see a debate over what drug laws are proper that does not in some way spin around local employment at private prisons. That’s not how to make good decisions.

James Pilant

"War on drugs" is a failure in many ways In a step few politicians would take, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle…declared the nation’s decades-old war on drugs a failure… “Rather than invest in detaining people in the Cook County Jail at almost $150 a day . . . we need to invest in treatment, education and job-skills training. That’s the only way . . . we are going to reduce crime and stabilize our communities,” she said… “We all know that the war on drugs has failed to … Read More

via Eideard

5 reasons why banks hate [and fear] Elizabeth Warren (via Eideard)


5 reasons why banks hate [and fear] Elizabeth Warren I’m sorry, Congressman, you’re small-minded, too! Daylife/Reuters Pictures used by permission Elizabeth Warren, it’s not you they hate. It’s what you represent. You want to be an honest cop when so many before you in Washington have looked the other way and pretended that the banking industry could police itself. I can’t think of a better reason why this presidential adviser shouldn’t be the new chief of an unfettered Consumer Financial Protectio … Read More

via Eideard

I couldn’t agree more. An honest broker is the last thing the large banks can stand. They want the status quo of unaccountability to continue forever. We’re just sheep to be sheared under current law. Even knowing what shenanigans the industry is up to is very difficult.

Let’s get Elizabeth Warren confirmed.

James Pilant

Should Photographing Chickens Be a Felony? (via A Philosopher’s Blog)


You have got to read this!

Apparently chicken farming will soon cease to exist if people photograph the conditions on the farms. That sound more to me like a reason to think something must be very, very wrong. If the big guns are out to stop the photographic truth of chicken farming, what are we not seeing that they are afraid of?

I don’t like this.

I want to express great appreciation to “A Philosopher’s Blog” for calling my attention to this!

James Pilant

Should Photographing Chickens Be a Felony? I stumbled across SB 1246 by chance rather than design, but I did find it a rather interesting bit of legislation. Trespassing onto a farm will result in a felony charge. Taking pictures at a farm without permission will also result in a felony charge. Lest you think I am making this up, I have pasted in the full text: Florida Senate – 2011 SB 1246    By Senato … Read More

via A Philosopher’s Blog

Banks Foreclosures In August The Highest Monthly Total EVER!


From an article by William Alden –

August saw more Americans lose their homes to foreclosure than any other month on record, RealtyTrac reported today. Banks repossessed a total of 95,364 properties in August, a 25 percent increase from the same period in 2009 and a 2 percent increase over this May’s previous record. Foreclosure filings of all types, including default notices, scheduled auctions and bank repossessions (the three major stages of the foreclosure process), increased to 338,836 in the month, a 4 percent jump from July.

Can there be any better evidence of robo – signing (the practice of mortgage companies simply have attorneys sign off on mortgages as if they had examined the paperwork for accuracy and legality [like whether or not the bank actually owned the property]) than these enormous numbers of foreclosures?

Foreclosing on people’s homes without doing the most minimal required legal work is “highly unethical.” (I don’t really want to use that phrase, but children might be reading my blog.)

Robo signing is profitable. You can see from the numbers just how streamlined the process can be if you avoid following the law.

But isn’t that the current philosophy in the “real” world? Isn’t the money the only thing that matters? And who are these homeowners anyway, just a bunch of dead beats. Why should they have any rights? They signed the note, didn’t they?

Yeah, do you know what note they signed? The actual amount of what they owed? Whether or not the home was actually the property of the foreclosing bank? Whether or not they were even in default?

I guess I’m just a strange person. I think you shouldn’t take people’s home casually. I think it is a very serious matter. Perhaps I don’t live in the real world. Maybe I’m one of those utopian thinkers who have expectations all out of accord with reality.

Or maybe, just maybe, justice is still important in this nation.

James Pilant