New York Detective Helped Convict the Innocent


 

c37aNew York Detective Helped Convict the Innocent

http://www.salon.com/2013/06/22/retired_nyc_homicide_detective_investigated_for_misconduct_wrongful_convictions_partner/

This officer’s work apparently involved railroading the innocent with the full cooperation of a number of prosecutors in more than fifty cases.
I hope you have the opportunity to work in a prosecutor’s office. I believe in justice but prosecutorial discretion is too broad and the desire not for justice but for a good “kill” ratio often outranks justice as a priority in some of these offices.
Here is an important quote from the article:

“The prosecutor’s duty to the truth arises from several sources,” Gershman wrote. “The most important source is the prosecutor’s role as a minister of justice. In this role, the prosecutor has the overriding responsibility not simply to convict the guilty but to protect the innocent. The duty to truth also derives from the prosecutor’s constitutional obligation not to use false evidence or to suppress material evidence favorable to the defendant. The duty to truth also arises from various ethical strictures that require prosecutors to have confidence in the truth of the evidence before bringing or maintaining criminal charges. The duty is found as well in the prosecutor’s domination of the criminal justice system and his virtual monopoly of the fact-finding process.”

This quote parallels my views on the subject. Justice is not equal to God but stands high in its importance to morality and a life worth living.

Please read the full article.

James Pilant

From around the web:

From the web site, TOT Private Consulting –

http://privateinvesigations.blogspot.com/2013/03/nypd-detective-who-got-innocent-man.html

The NYPD detective whose corner-cutting investigative work, combined with a community’s blood lust for quick justice, put an apparently innocent man in prison for 23 years insists he’s being scapegoated by the very district attorney who pushed for the conviction.
 
“They threw me under the bus,” Louis Scarcella told The Post yesterday after DA Charles Hynes indicated he’d asked a judge to vacate David Ranta’s conviction, more than two decades after Ranta was found guilty of murdering a prominent rabbi in Williamsburg.

“I was appalled when I got the news,” the retired cop said outside his Staten Island home. “I stand by the confession 100 percent. I never framed anyone in my life. You have to be a low devil to frame someone. I sleep well at night.”

While Scarcella was sleeping, Ranta, 58, was languishing in a Buffalo prison, convicted of the February 1990 murder of Rabbi Chaskel Werzberger after a botched jewelry heist in the Orthodox Jewish community.
From the web site, General Strike –

An ‘overwhelmed’ David Ranta left prison with a small bag of belongings and  family members ecstatic to see him outside of his cell. His conviction began to  fall apart when it was revealed that case detectives used questionable tactics  in his case, including coaching witnesses.

An innocent man was sprung from prison Thursday — more than 20 years after he  was wrongfully convicted of killing a beloved Brooklyn rabbi.

David Ranta, 58, could barely contain his excitement, smiling broadly at  relatives who hadn’t seen him as a free man since his 1991 conviction. Ranta was  found guilty of shooting Rabbi Chaskel Werzberger in a botched jewelry heist in  Williamsburg.

The conviction crumbled after a year-long investigation revealed case  detectives coached witnesses, did not keep notes and gave incentives to felons  who provided information.

And from the web site, From the Trenches –

http://www.fromthetrenchesworldreport.com/who-protects-new-yorkers-from-the-nypd/44295

Heyward is not alone in his suspicion of foul play in Hynes executions of justice. The DA has recently come under great scrutiny for spending years refusing to review convictions that he and his predecessor obtained through working with a homicide detective of such dubious repute. Last week, the Hynes office was forced to reopen 50 cases in which NYPD Detective Louis Scarcella was involved, after the Times uncovered that he obtained false confessions, lied, and relied on testimony from a single, crack-addicted prostitute to obtain a number of convictions. While families of those convicted through Scarlla’s police plan to start bird-dogging Hynes, others, like Heyward, have vowed to win justice for those they will never see again.

“It doesn’t matter how long I have to be out here fighting and exposing the reality of what happened. I’m going to keep at it,” said Heyward who believes there is a clear conflict of interest between New York City’s DAs and the NYPD since they are both on the same side of the law. “When cops are involved, it’s like district attorneys forget how to prosecute.”

“I’m overwhelmed,” Ranta said outside a courtroom in downtown Brooklyn,  carrying a purple laundry bag with all his belongings. “Right now, I feel like  I’m underwater, swimming.”

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Puritan Success


citybeyoPuritan Success

Lynn Parramore: Jamie Dimon’s Ultra-American Rise and Fall: The Great Gatsby Meets Moby Dick

Australians have an old joke about their country’s founding elements: Sure, we got the criminals, but America got the Puritans, which is much worse.

The folks who arrived on our shores from Europe four centuries ago brought with them some peculiar notions. The Puritans believed in the Calvinist “Doctrine of the Elect,” a depressing divine plan whereby God pre-selected those destined for heaven and damned everybody else to hell. You could never know who was on the A-list and who was in for a fiery eternity. At least that’s what old John Calvin had taught.

But mere mortals could never be content with so mysterious a system, so they became obsessed with finding out who was elect. Material possessions, they concluded, must be a sign. Didn’t people who worked hard and kept up their prayers often amass more stuff than others? Hard work was godly, and since it often resulted in riches, they must be godly, too. Wealthiness was next to godliness.

In an essay on The Great Gatsby, America’s great literary ode to our distinguishing love of wealth, John A. Pidgeon notes that the striving for money became a means of salvation. Take the Puritan reverence of riches, add in equal parts transcendentalism and rugged individualism, and you’ve got the American Dream in all its shining glory: If you work hard, if you believe fervently enough, you can make yourself a fortune. You, too, can join the ranks of the elect.

Lynn Parramore: Jamie Dimon’s Ultra-American Rise and Fall: The Great Gatsby Meets Moby Dick

 

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Pope Criticizes Unregulated Financial Capitalism


Pope Criticizes Unregulated Financial Capitalism

 

Pope criticizes unregulated financial capitalism
Pope criticizes unregulated financial capitalism

Pope on New Year’s Day: find inner peace in God

Although the world is sadly marked by “hotbeds of tension and conflict caused by growing instances of inequality between rich and poor, by the prevalence of a selfish and individualistic mindset which also finds expression in an unregulated financial capitalism,” as well as by various forms of terrorism and crime, I am convinced that “the many different efforts at peacemaking which abound in our world testify to mankind’s innate vocation to peace. In every person the desire for peace is an essential aspiration which coincides in a certain way with the desire for a full, happy and successful human life. In other words, the desire for peace corresponds to a fundamental moral principle, namely, the duty and right to an integral social and communitarian development, which is part of God’s plan for mankind. Man is made for the peace which is God’s gift.

Pope on New Year’s Day: find inner peace in God

I was reading the online news when I ran across this headline from Huff Post Religion: (Above is the exact quote from the Pope’s short statement.)

Pope Slams Capitalism, Inequality Between Rich And Poor In New Years Message

I do not believe that the headline is an accurate description of the Pope’s brief statement. The Pope says “unregulated financial capitalism.” It would appear to me we are talking about unregulated financial markets and there is probably a veiled reference to the banking scandals of 2012.

I have read a good deal about Catholic Social Doctrine but had never considered it anti-capitalistic. I had certainly noted it as being extremely hostile to free market fundamentalism but I don’t mistake that belief system for capitalism.

Maybe the headline was just meant to attract readers to click in on it, but I think what the Pope says about our current financial system is worth reflecting on.

James Pilant

From around the web –

From the web site, Front Porch Republic:

“The answer is obviously complex. If by “capitalism” is meant an economic system which recognizes the fundamental and positive role of business, the market, private property and the resulting responsibility for the means of production, as well as free human creativity in the economic sector, then the answer is certainly in the affirmative, even though it would perhaps be more appropriate to speak of a “business economy,” “market economy” or simply “free economy.” But if by “capitalism” is meant a system in which freedom in the economic sector is not circumscribed within a strong juridical framework which places it at the service of human freedom in its totality and sees it as a particular aspect of that freedom, the core of which is ethical and religious, then the reply is certainly negative. …

From the web site, Political Snapshots:

What grasped my total interest and attention was his just attack on unrestrained capitalism without any ethics. He wrote, “Once profit becomes the exclusive goal, if it is produced by improper means and without the common good as its ultimate end, it risks destroying wealth and creating poverty. “ As someone who has been concerned with anarcho-capitalism (an economic system that destroys government regulation of the economy, and creates anarchy within the global economic system) I think the Pope’s comments on capitalism is timely.

 

The conscious deregulation of the economy that started during the Reagan administration in the U.S. reached its climax during President George W. Bush’s tenure and has brought the global economic chaos the world is in at the moment. Their bankrupt economic theory of the  market policing itself, has proven to be as hollow as their dreams of making trillions of dollars without manufacturing anything.

And finally from the web site, Here and Now 2012 Indy Info:

The pope said economic models that seek maximum profit and consumption and encourage competition at all costs had failed to look after the basic needs of manyThousands of peace marchers carrying rainbow banners released balloons in cold St Peter’s Square as the pope spoke.

A longer version of the Pope’s annual message was sent to heads of state, government and non-governmental organizations on December 14th.

Reuters reports that in that message “the Pope called for a new economic model and ethical regulations for markets, saying the global financial crisis was proof that capitalism does not protect the weakest members of society.”

The pope said economic models that seek maximum profit and consumption and encourage competition at all costs had failed to look after the basic needs of many and could sow social unrest.

 

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Ethical Web Posts I Found Today – July 12th, 2011


A Druid Journal discusses “ethical eating.”

Gangraped Nepal nun now faces expulsion from nunnery,” is a post from Sujato’s Blog.  This is an excellent post, well written and passionate. I am not well enough versed in the religious aspects to comment at the level of quality I want, so I will let you draw your conclusions. I admit I find his case most persuasive.

“Is God the basis of morality?” asks this posting entitled  The Christian and the Euthyphro Dilemma. If you have philosophical leanings, go here! This is from the web site – The Gospel According to Erik.

Here is a discussion of the ethics of creative license from the web site, accidental happiness and entitled – confessions of a dangerous writer.

Your Rune For June 23 is Laguz/Flow (via Witches of the Craft’s Blog)


I have a rune?

James Pialnt

Your Rune For June 23 is Laguz/Flow Laguz/Flow You wish for unity and fusion, consolation and satisfaction of all your emotional needs. This is a time of cleansing and reorientation, a time of contacting your intuitive wisdom, where you find all the answers. Immerse yourself in that inner knowledge, for you will find there, whatever it is you need. … Read More

via Witches of the Craft's Blog

The Difference Between Moral Hazard and God’s Grace (via Ethical Houston)


Moral Hazard is one of the more important concepts of our current economic situation. This is an intelligent, insightful article with a clear explanation of the phenomenon. I am a big believer in Christianity’s view of business ethics and here is a good one by a fine author. If you are an economics or business student, you will find useful material here.

James Pilant

The Difference Between Moral Hazard and God’s Grace   If corporations are considered to have most of the same rights as humans should they also be entitled to Grace? Last summer the Supreme Court decided that corporations had the right to make unlimited contributions to political candidates.  For a number of years labor unions have also been able to make contributions to political campaigns.  This ruling is just another incident where the law has held that corporations have many of the same rights … Read More

via Ethical Houston