Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Texas' reach-back sex offender laws breach plea agreements

Over the past 20 years, state and federal lawmakers have passed ever-stricter sex offense laws, requiring more people to be listed on public sex offender registries, typically for life. In some cases, the new laws have reached back to include those whose crimes occurred years before the statutes were enacted and contrary to the deals they struck with prosecutors, reported the Austin American-Statesman.
The U.S. Constitution prohibits new laws that pile additional punishments onto old crimes. In the past, government lawyers have successfully sidestepped that by arguing that retroactively requiring sex offenders to register for decades-old crimes is not really a punishment. Instead, they contended, it is merely a regulation that promotes public safety.
By being forced to follow new terms that, in some instances, the men were specifically promised they would never face, “it’s the state of Texas reneging on their deal,” said Richard Gladden, an attorney specializing in sex offender laws.
The number of registered sex offenders in Texas climbs by nearly a dozen every day. Although the state has created a legal path to get off the list, the number of successful applicants is inconsequential. Today, according to the Center for Missing and Exploited Children, which tracks lists in all 50 states, Texas’s sex offender registry includes about 100,000 people — 3.5 per 1,000 residents, considerably above the national average. The vast majority of its registrants are considered low risk.
Spurring the growth have been new laws requiring more sex offenders to be added to the list, for longer periods. Like most states, Texas has adopted a series of increasingly severe statutes, often in response to horrific, high-profile crimes against a child.
The state’s initial sex offender registration law, passed in 1991, applied only to those convicted of certain sex crimes. Two years later, Texas legislators passed another law requiring defendants who, like Curtis and Miller, had received so-called deferred adjudication deals for their sex crimes, to register as well.
The rules applied only to new offenders charged after the law passed. But in 1997, Texas expanded its sex offense laws again — this time reaching backward. Now, anyone who had been convicted of, or who received a deferred adjudication deal for, sex crimes since 1970 had to register as an offender on Texas’ public list.
The latest rules still limited the retroactive portion to offenders who were still in prison or on probation when the law passed. But in 2005, that clause was repealed when the Legislature decided to broaden Texas sex offense laws once again.
According to the new statute, no matter what state prosecutors had promised — or when or how many years the offender had been out of prison or off probation — every qualifying sex offender was ordered onto the state’s registry. Since 2006, the Texas Department of Public Safety has doubled the number of employees working on the registry and quadrupled their budget.
The law’s author, Ray Allen, a seven-term state representative from Grand Prairie who left the Legislature in 2006, said that wasn’t the goal. “At the time we were writing the laws, we were trying our best to find the really dangerous people,” he said. “And I think we threw the net way too wide. I’m not sure we got the right people. But we didn’t change the laws back.”
It is difficult to tally how many current registered sex offenders fall into the same category as the men arguing that Texas broke its word when prosecutors struck deals years ago that did not include the registration requirement, only to add it later. In a recent Texas Supreme Court filing, lawyers for the DPS warned that if Curtis won his case it would relieve “numerous other sex offenders of their duty to register.”
An American-Statesman analysis of the Texas registry identified just over 2,800 sex offenders who, according to the terms of their probation, were no longer required to register, yet remain on the list. Gladden said he suspected many of those fell into the same category as Curtis and Miller.
“I’ve had a lot of (similar) cases, and I’m just one lawyer,” added Scott Smith, an Austin lawyer who specializes in representing sex registrants.
When Texas passed its reach-back sex offender laws, “I was very surprised the Legislature made them retroactive,” said Keith Hampton, an Austin civil rights attorney who has studied the statutes. “A plea bargain is essentially a contract. If one side just changes the rules, you can’t have any sort of contract law for that.”
Texas wasn’t alone in expanding its sex offender statutes to include those who thought their social debt had been cleared years earlier. Most states passed laws that roped in offenders from old cases. Lawsuits protesting the laws violated the Constitution’s prohibition against additional punishments for old crimes began almost immediately.
That argument was effectively quashed in 2003, when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that Alaska’s law retroactively requiring old sex offenders who’d completed their sentences to register was legal because the registry wasn’t intended to be punitive.
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Monday, September 24, 2018

Bill Cosby sentencing to begin today: Is he a sexually violent predator?

Bill Cosby’s sentencing hearing today will begin with testimony about his sex offender evaluation and, presumably, a fierce debate over whether the 81-year-old actor should be branded a sexually violent predator, reported The Associated Press.
The stakes are high given the lifetime counseling, community alerts and public shaming the designation would trigger. And it could become evidence in the defamation lawsuits filed against Cosby by accusers who say he branded them liars when he denied molesting them.
Defense lawyers say Pennsylvania’s latest sex-reporting law, despite several revisions, remains unconstitutional.
“It’s the modern-day version of a scarlet letter,” said lawyer Demetra Mehta, a former Philadelphia public defender, “which I think is sort of an interesting philosophical issue at this time with the #MeToo movement, but also criminal justice reform.”
Pennsylvania’s sex-offender board has examined Cosby and recommended he be deemed a predator, concluding that he has a mental defect or personality disorder that makes him prone to criminal behavior. Montgomery County Judge Steven T. O’Neill will have the final say Monday.
O’Neill has presided over the case for nearly three years, from shortly after Cosby’s December 2015 arrest to a 2017 trial that ended in a jury deadlock to the jury finding this past April that Cosby drugged and molested a woman at his suburban Philadelphia estate in 2004. He faces anything from probation to 30 years in prison on the three felony counts of aggravated indecent assault.
It’s unclear if the judge, in weighing the predator label, will consider the dozens of other Cosby accusers who have gone public or his deposition in the trial victim’s 2006 lawsuit, when Cosby acknowledged getting quaaludes to give women before sex; described sex acts as the “penile entrance” to an “orifice” and “digital penetration”; and said he often gave young women alcohol but didn’t drink or take drugs himself because he liked to stay in control.
Defense lawyers fighting the predator label note that sexual offender registration laws are in flux in Pennsylvania and elsewhere.
Numerous courts, including the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, have found the laws so vague as to be unconstitutional. Courts have also debated whether the programs unfairly amount to extra punishment, especially for people convicted of misdemeanors. Cosby has added one of the state’s top appellate lawyers, Peter Goldberger, to his defense team.
“This is going to probably be a very important case for sex-offender law when it’s up on appeal,” Mehta said. “It’s an area of law that is just sort of unsettled right now. There’s a lot up on appeal, but there’s not a lot decided.”
Pennsylvania alone now has 2,200 people classified as sexually violent predators, of the more than 20,000 people on its Megan’s Law list of sex offenders. The Megan’s Law group has their names, pictures and towns listed online, but they’re not subject to the same monthly counseling mandates as the “predator” group, and authorities don’t actively warn communities of their nearby presence.
The stigma may not be as paralyzing for a man like Cosby — in his 80s, living in a gated house and presumably not looking for work or going to the local gym. However, it’s one more stain on his reputation.
Defense motions note that the sex offender board’s recommendation followed an evaluation by just a single board member, and that the evidence needs only to meet a “clear and convincing” standard.
That violates Cosby’s “right to reputation without confrontation, without trial by jury and without proof beyond a reasonable doubt,” defense lawyer Joseph Green Jr. argued in a July court filing.
Legal experts believe a “predator” classification would be a legal finding that Cosby accusers could use in their defamation suits, including one involving seven women plaintiffs that’s pending in Massachusetts.
“That may [also] be about legacy protection, about what the obituary says, what the Wikipedia page says,” said Daniel Filler, dean of Drexel University’s Kline College of Law. “You can bet, especially in crowd-sourced things, everything’s going to begin with ‘he’s a sexually violent predator.’ It’s like a slogan. He has a tag now.”
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Sunday, September 23, 2018

Mangino explains Kavanaught controversy on WFMJ-TV21

Watch my interview regarding the Kavanaugh confirmation controversy with Malaynia Spiva on WFMJ-TV21 Weekend Today.

To watch the interview CLICK HERE

The myth of the'superpredator'

The myth of the “superpredator” would have terrible consequences for American children, wrote Nathan J. Robinson in the Jacobin. In the mid 1990s, fueled by alarmist pseudo-scholarship by quack criminologists, a number of politicians sounded the alarm about a concerning new trend: the rise of a new breed of sociopathic juvenile delinquent, incapable of empathy and hellbent on robbing, raping, and terrorizing every decent churchgoing middle American community.
The 1980s and 1990s were a heyday for nationwide moral panics. The coming of the superpredators was just one of the paralyzing terrors of the period, which also included widespread fear of Satanic abuse at daycares and razorblades in Halloween candy. The superpredator legend, however, was more deeply insidious.
The term was coined by John DiIulio Jr, a professor at Princeton University. DiIulio interpreted rising juvenile crime statistics to mean that a “new breed” of juvenile offender had been born, one who was “stone cold,” “fatherless, Godless, and jobless,” and had “absolutely no respect for human life and no sense of the future.”
DiIulio and his coauthors elaborated that superpredators were:
Radically impulsive, brutally remorseless youngsters, including ever more preteenage boys, who murder, assault, rape, rob, burglarize, deal deadly drugs, join gun-toting gangs, and create serious communal disorders. They do not fear the stigma of arrest, the pains of imprisonment, or the pangs of conscience. They perceive hardly any relationship between doing right (or wrong) now and being rewarded (or punished) for it later. To these mean-street youngsters, the words “right” and “wrong” have no fixed moral meaning.
For devising this theory, DiIulio was rewarded with an invitation to the White House, where he and a group of other experts spent three and a half hours with President Clinton.
Confirming DiIulio’s analysis was James Q. Wilson, the conservative political scientist who had devised the theory of “broken windows” policing. The broken windows theory posited that minor crimes in a neighborhood (such as the breaking of windows) tended to lead to major ones, so police should harshly focus on rounding up petty criminals if they wanted to prevent major violent crimes.
Put into practice, this amounted to the endless apprehension of fare-jumpers and homeless squeegee people. It also created the intellectual justification for totalitarian “stop and frisk” policies that introduced an exasperating and often terrifying ordeal into nearly every young black New Yorker’s life.
“Broken windows” had very little academic support (it hadn’t been introduced in a peer-reviewed journal, but in a short article for the Atlantic), but Wilson still felt confident in pronouncing on the “superpredator” phenomenon. He predicted that by the year 2000, “there will be a million more people between the ages of fourteen and seventeen than there are now” and “six percent of them will become high rate, repeat offenders — thirty thousand more young muggers, killers and thieves than we have now.”
DiIulio and Wilson said that it was past time to panic. “Get ready,” warned Wilson. Not only were the superpredators here, but a lethal tsunami of them was rising in the distance, preparing to engulf civilization.
As James C. Howell documents, just a year later, as crime rates continued to decrease, DiIulio “pushed the horizon back ten years and raised the ante.” This time DiIulio projected that “by the year 2010, there will be approximately 270,000 more juvenile super-predators on the streets than there were in 1990.” Like a Baptist apocalypse forecaster, the moment the sky didn’t fall according to prophecy, a new doomsday was announced, with just as much confidence as the last.
So despite all evidence to the contrary, segments of the Right continued to anticipate “a bloodbath of teenager-perpetrated violence,” perpetrated by “radically impulsive, brutally remorseless” “elementary school youngsters who pack guns instead of lunches” and “have absolutely no respect for human life.”
The notion gained political cache, and was spoken of in Congress and on the national media. It was even propagated, and given a major credibility boost, by one or two prominent liberals, perhaps the most prominent of whom was Hillary Rodham Clinton.
There was always a race element to the superpredator theory, which is why The New Jim Crow author and legal scholar Michelle Alexander says Clinton “used racially coded rhetoric to cast black children as animals.”
It wasn’t just subtext; DiIulio spoke in explicitly racial terms. “By simple math,” he wrote, “in a decade today’s 4-to-7-year-olds will become 14-to-17-year-olds. By 2005, the number of males in this age group will have risen about 25 percent overall and 50 percent for blacks. [emphasis added] To some extent, it’s just that simple: More boys begets more bad boys . . . [The additional boys will mean] more murderers, rapists and muggers on the streets than we have today.”
DiIulio speculated that “the demographic bulge of the next 10 years will unleash an army of young male predatory street criminals who will make even the leaders of the Bloods and Crips — known as OGs, for ‘original gangsters’ — look tame by comparison . . . ” DiIulio explained that these boys traveled in “wolf packs,” and that black violence “tended to be more serious” than white violence, “for example, aggravated assaults rather than simple assaults, and attacks involving guns rather than weaponless violence.”
Michelle Alexander may therefore overstate the extent to which the superpredator language was “coded” in the first place; the theory’s most prominent advocate was openly stating that the “wolves” in question were black. He could only have been more explicit about his meaning if he had simply written the “n-word” over and over on the op-ed page of the Wall Street Journal.
In the years since, nearly everyone has abandoned the superpredator story, for the essential reason that it was, to put it simply, statistically illiterate race-baiting pseudoscience. As a group of criminologists explained in a brief to the Supreme Court, “the fear of an impending generation of superpredators proved to be unfounded. Empirical research that has analyzed the increase in violent crime during the early- to mid-1990s and its subsequent decline demonstrates that the juvenile superpredator was a myth and the predictions of future youth violence were baseless.”
In fact, the criminologists had “been unable to identify any scholarly research published in the last decade that provides support for the notion of the juvenile superpredator.” Among the criminologists who filed the brief were John DiIulio and James Q. Wilson, who humbly conceded that their findings had been in error.
The harm done to young people, however, was incalculable.
Having been scientifically diagnosed as remorseless and demonic, poor children accused of crimes were increasingly given the kind of harsh punishments previously reserved for adults. New York University criminologist Mark Kleiman says there was a direct link between that single “fallacious bit of science” and the expansion of the use of the adult justice system to prosecute children.
“Based on [the superpredator theory],” Kleiman writes, “dozens of states passed laws allowing juveniles to be tried and sentenced as adults, with predictably disastrous results.” As the Equal Justice Initiative has observed, “the superpredator myth contributed to the dismantling of transfer restrictions, the lowering of the minimum age for adult prosecution of children, and it threw thousands of children into an ill-suited and excessive punishment regime.”
In early 1996, the Sunday Mail described the panic that was overtaking Illinois:
“It’s Lord of the Flies on a massive scale,” Chicago’s Cook County State Attorney Jack O’Malley said . . . We’ve become a nation being terrorized by our children . . . ” Already, the State of Illinois has introduced new laws to deal with this terrifying new “crime bomb,” ruling that children as young as 10 will be sent to juvenile jails. The State is rushing construction of its first “kiddie prison” to replace the traditional, less punitive “youth detention facility” to enforce the get-tough policy of jail cells instead of cozy dormitories.
The shift to viewing kids as comparable to the worst adult offenders allowed all manner of abuses to be inflicted on young people for whom the effects are especially damaging. Juvenile solitary confinement has been routinely used in American prisons, despite having been recognized as a form of torture by United Nations Human Rights Committee. Kids have been held in tiny cells for twenty-three hours per day, leading to madness and suicide.
The practice produces stories such as that of Kalief Browder, who was sent to Rikers Island jail at the age of sixteen, spending two years in solitary confinement awaiting trial for stealing a backpack, and ultimately killing himself after finally being released and having the charges dropped. A joint report by the ACLU and Human Rights Watch, which interviewed over one hundred people who had been held in solitary confinement while under the age of eighteen, summarized some of the intense psychological torment inflicted:
Many of the young people interviewed spoke in harrowing detail about struggling with one or more of a range of serious mental health problems during their time in solitary. They talked about thoughts of suicide and self-harm; visual and auditory hallucinations; feelings of depression; acute anxiety; shifting sleep patterns; nightmares and traumatic memories; and uncontrollable anger or rage. Some young people, particularly those who reported having been identified as having a mental disability before entering solitary confinement, struggled more than others. Fifteen young people described cutting or harming themselves or thinking about or attempting suicide one or more times while in solitary confinement.
Housing juveniles in adult facilities can be an equally inhumane practice in itself. As the weakest members of the population, juveniles housed in adult facilities are likely to be brutally raped by older inmates, and are at an increased risk of suicide.
T. J. Parsell was sent to prison in Michigan at the age of seventeen for robbing fifty-three dollars from a one-hour photo store using a toy gun. He describes his arrival:
On my first day there — the same day that my classmates were getting ready for the prom — a group of older inmates spiked my drink, lured me down to a cell and raped me. And that was just the beginning. Laughing, they bragged about their conquest and flipped a coin to see which one of them got to keep me. For the remainder of my nearly five-year sentence, I was the property of another inmate.
Teenagers like Parsell were being housed in adult facilities long before the “superpredator” horror stories. But the more young offenders are dehumanized, the more dilapidated becomes the thin barrier of empathy that keeps society from inflicting psychological, physical, and emotional torment on the weak. As Natasha Vargas-Cooper writes, while “the scourge of the super-predators never came to be … the infrastructure for cruelty, torture, and life-long captivity of juvenile offenders was cemented.”
But to say the “superpredator” notion has been “discredited” is to overestimate the extent to which it was accepted in the first place, and risks exonerating those who recited the term during the mid nineties. The moment the “superpredator” concept was introduced, reputable criminologists stepped forward to rebut it. Few serious scholars gave the notion any credence, and they made their objections loudly known.
“Everybody believes that just because it sounds good,” the research director of the National Center for Juvenile Justice told the press in 1996. Harvard government professor David Kennedy said that “What this whole super-predator argument misses is that [increasing teen violence] is not some inexorable natural progression” but rather the product of “very specific” social dynamics such as the easy availability of guns.
Other public policy experts called the idea “unduly alarmist” and said its proponents “lack a sense of history and comparative criminology.” DiIulio himself didn’t try to persuade the rest of his field; the Toronto Star reported that “asked recently to cite research supporting his theory, DiIulio declined to be interviewed.”
The political conservatism of the theory was hardly smuggled in under cover of night. DiIulio’s “Coming of the Super Predators” first appeared in William Kristol’s conservative Weekly Standard, and the handful of scholars who peddled the theory had strong, open ties to right-wing politics, so it was plainly partisan rather than scholastic.
Even the language used by the professors, of “Godless” and “brutal” juveniles without “fixed values,” was plainly the talk of Republican Party moralists, rather than dispassionate social scientists. Nobody in the professional circles of a “children’s rights” liberal like Hillary Clinton would have given the “superpredator” concept a lick of intellectual credence, even when it was at the peak of its infamy.
It was therefore deeply wrong to spread the lie even when it was most popular. Yet to defend it in 2016, as Bill Clinton did, is on another level entirely.
When Bill Clinton said in Philadelphia that he didn’t know how else one would describe the kids who got “thirteen-year-olds hopped up on crack and sent them out to murder” other kids, he revived an ugly legend that led to the incarceration and rape of scores of young people.
Speaking this way can still have harmful ripple effects. When Washington Post writer Jonathan Capehartreported Hillary Clinton’s apology for her remark, he implied that superpredators did exist, but that they didn’t include upstanding young people like the Black Lives Matter activist who had challenged Clinton. Folk tales are slow to die, and people’s fear of teen superpredators is easily revived.
It took years to debunk this tale the first time around; once people believe that young people are potential superpredators, they become willing to impose truly barbaric punishments on kids who break the law.
After all, if such offenders are not actually children, but superpredators, one need not empathize with them. One can talk in terms like “bring them to heel,” which is the sort of thing one says about a dog.
It may have been surprising, given that Hillary Clinton has made a strong effort to connect with African-American voters, that Bill Clinton would have revived a nasty racist cliché about animalistic juveniles. But in fact, this simultaneous maintenance of warmth toward individual African Americans and support for policies that hurt the African American community has been a consistent inconsistency throughout Bill Clinton’s political career.
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Saturday, September 22, 2018

GateHouse: Where does Kavanaugh rift leave #MeToo?

Matthew T. Mangino
GateHouse Media
September 21, 2018
The teetering confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court may be a harbinger of the collapse — or lasting impact — of the #MeToo movement.
Conservative prosecutors, law enforcements agencies and lawmakers are at a crossroads with their counterparts on the left who want to pursue sexual assault at all cost — no matter how long ago.
In Pennsylvania, lawmakers expressed frustration with the state’s statute of limitations that prohibited the prosecution of 299 out of 301 predatory priests listed in a recent bombshell grand jury report. Advocacy groups were also quick to attack the statute of limitations for blocking victims from pursuing Bill Cosby or Harvey Weinstein.
Professor Christine Blasey Ford has accused Kavanaugh of sexual assault which occurred 36 years ago, in Maryland. There is no statute of limitations for rape or sexual assault in Maryland.
According to the Washington Post, Senate Republicans have signaled that they will move ahead with Kavanaugh’s confirmation in spite of Ford calling for a pause and the intervention of the FBI.
Why not have the FBI reopen Kavanaugh’s background investigation? The FBI reopened Justice Clarence Thomas’ background investigation in 1991 after Anita Hill came forward — or let the Montgomery County, Maryland District Attorney’s office conduct a criminal investigation.
Ford has described a sexual assault by a U.S. Supreme Court nominee who is about to take a lifetime appointment on one of the most powerful tribunals in the world.
A spokesperson for the Montgomery County Police Department told The Intercept that since “nobody has come forward to report any allegation or incident” they can’t start an investigation. Don’t they have televisions in Montgomery County?
Why abolish the statute of limitations if a prosecutor chooses to ignore the highest profile allegation of sexual assault in modern history with no limitations on his ability to act?
In June, the New York Times reported, “The battle over statutes of limitations for sexual assault is so fraught that it has upended traditional political alliances. Women’s rights activists typically partner with progressives on political issues ... those who advocate abolishing the limits find their staunchest allies in conservative lawmakers.”
As Kavanaugh’s confirmation presses forward it is ironic that Senator Mitch McConnell and his GOP colleagues in the Senate are pushing for a Monday hearing — with or without Ford.
McConnell was a major force behind the effort to push out Senator Larry E. Craig, the Idaho Republican arrested at an airport in 2007 in an undercover sex sting. McConnell was the chairman of the ethics committee when Oregon Senator Bob Packwood resigned after he was accused of sexual harassment. He pushed for the resignation of Minnesota Senator Al Franken amid allegations of sexual misconduct.
Last year, McConnell said Roy Moore, a Senate candidate from Alabama, would be unfit to serve in the senate after multiple women accused him of long ago sexual abuse.
Surprising, McConnell doesn’t require the same level of fitness for the United State Supreme Court as he does the United States Senate.
I recently wrote that there is a purpose behind the statute of limitations. The statute, or some version of it, has been around since antiquity. There has long been a concern that individuals should not be forced to defend themselves years and years after an event that allegedly caused harm to another person.
Today Show co-host Megyn Kelly — an unlikely ally of the Trump Administration — said this week, “It’s been 34 years. He (Kavanaugh) was allegedly 17 when it happened. How is he supposed to defend himself? There’s a reason we have statutes of limitation in this country and that’s because ... memory fades, details fade and it’s impossible for him to prove a negative.”
As the flaws of abolishing the statute of limitations are laid bare — the challenge for victim advocates is to convince the public that victims — however long ago their victimization — are entitled to be heard whether in a courtroom or a senate hearing room.
Matthew T. Mangino is of counsel with Luxenberg, Garbett, Kelly & George P.C. His book The Executioner’s Toll, 2010 was released by McFarland Publishing. You can reach him at www.mattmangino.com and follow him on Twitter @MatthewTMangino.
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Friday, September 21, 2018

Double standard: Texas judge who sentenced woman to prison for voting also violated election laws

Crystal Mason, a 43-year-old mother of three, made headlines in March when she was sentenced to five years in prison for voting. Because of that conviction, on Aug. 30 a federal judge found her in violation of the terms of her supervised release and sentenced her to 10 months in prison, plus two years and two months of probation, reported The Appeal.
Mason says she didn’t know she was ineligible to vote when she cast a provisional ballot in Fort Worth, Texas, in the November 2016 presidential election. But she was on supervised release after a federal prison term for tax fraud, making her vote illegal. She found out three months later, when she was arrested for it.
“They tell you certain things like you can’t be around a felon, you can’t have a gun,” she told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram last year. “No one actually said, ‘Hey, you can’t vote this year.’”
The original case against Mason was brought by Tarrant County District Attorney Sharen Wilson in February 2017. But critics say it was not only unduly harsh—it was also hypocritical. Wilson, a Republican, has been far more lenient in handling an election-related forgery case involving a Republican justice of the peace, they point out. And she also committed an election-related impropriety of her own in 2016: asking her staff for personal contact information and then using it to solicit them for funds for her re-election.
Legal experts are mixed over whether that was a criminal offense, and a special prosecutor declined to pursue action against her. But Grant Hayden, a law professor at Southern Methodist University, said it’s unfair for Wilson to hold voters like Mason accountable for not knowing election rules and then claiming not to know rules herself. “Yeah, it looks like a double standard on its face,” Hayden told The Appeal. “And that’s a problem.”
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Thursday, September 20, 2018

Big city crime wave debunked, homicide on the decline

A new report issued by the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University projects an overall decline in crime in big cities in 2018, with a larger drop-off in homicides, particularly in cities where violent crime has spiked in recent years, reported The Crime Report.
Authors of the report calculate that murder rates in America’s 29 largest cities will drop by 7.6 percent over the previous year; falling off to levels approximately equal to 2015 rates.
Notably, the report projects a 35 percent decline in homicides in San Francisco, 23.2 percent in Chicago, and 20.9 percent in Baltimore. If projections hold, this would mean a hard reverse in Baltimore’s murder trend, dropping to levels not seen since 2014.
“These findings directly undercut claims that American cities are experiencing a crime wave. Instead, they suggest that increases in the murder rate in 2015 and 2016 were temporary, rather than signaling a reversal in the long-term downward trend,” wrote the authors.
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