It has been nearly six years since the quasi-public entity that was once responsible for the reservoirs that supply Newark’s drinking water shut down amid widespread corruption that sent at least six people to prison and helped drive the agency into bankruptcy.
Now, the person who once ran the agency and another high-level employee–both currently doing time in federal prison for their on-the-job misdeeds–are trying to collect pensions worth hundreds of thousands of dollars. And it looks like they might get their payday.
Continue reading Thank You for Your (Dis)Service–Corrupt Former Newark Water Agency Head Seeks Pension Payoff
I was really happy to see last week that the New Jersey courts were taking concrete action to protect people from the harsh immigration policies of the Trump Administration.
Administrative Directive 07-19, released on May 23, states the view of the judiciary “that civil immigration enforcement activities should not take place in courthouses” and that “courthouses must be viewed by the public, all parties, victims, and witnesses as a neutral and safe forum to resolve disputes.” Continue reading NJ COURTS PROVIDE ICE SHIELD
I don’t write much about criminal justice issues, but I would like to share this article entitled “How Fear Contributes to Cops’ Use of Deadly Force.” It was written by Columbia University professors Rajiv Sethi and Brendan “Dan” O’Flaherty and posted today on The Marshall Project website. (Dan O’Flaherty is my husband.)
Their data-driven article starts out with the troubling fact that police in the United States kill civilians far more often than police in other countries, more than 1,000 each year, as contrasted with, for example, the combined 10 per year killed by British and German police.
Not surprisingly, there are striking racial disparities on who is at the receiving end of this police violence. For instance, black residents of Houston are four times more likely to face deadly force than white ones. In New York and Los Angeles, they are six to seven times more likely to die in police shootings. And in Chicago, they are 18 times more likely to be killed by police.
What is surprising is the regional differences that were found, which are so substantial that whites in Houston are more likely to be killed by police than blacks in New York City.
You can read the article here.
And if you find the topic of interest, read their book, published last month, called “Shadows of Doubt,” which looks at the impact of stereotypes and fear on policing and prosecution.
Yes, this is a shameless plug for my husband’s book but the book is a timely, deeply researched and thoughtful look at an important subject.
A new report from the New Jersey affiliate of the American Civil Liberties Union takes a good, hard look at civil asset forfeiture and concludes that it is prone to widespread abuse and disproportionately used against people of color.
Civil asset forfeiture, also known as civil forfeiture, and sometimes disparagingly referred to as “policing for profit” is a legal process by which law enforcement officers take people’s property away from them on mere suspicion of a crime without necessarily arresting them or bringing charges. The statutes that govern it are N.J.S.A. 2C:64-1 et seq.
The textbook case of civil forfeiture is the seizure of illegal narcotics from suspected drug dealers, as well as cash believed to have been used in or earned from narcotics transactions.
But forfeiture can involve a wide range of assets, many of which are far more innocuous. Cars, boats, houses, jewelry, art, electronics – just about anything can be seized. The report lists baseball cards, a bicycle, an iPod, shoes and laptops, among other items. Continue reading ACLU REPORT HIGHLIGHTS FORFEITURE FLAWS
People, like me, who believe in open government, were sorely disappointed last month when the state’s highest court, usually so protective of transparency, denied access to police dash-cam recordings under the Open Public Records Act (OPRA).
On August 13, 2018, a sharply divided New Jersey Supreme Court held, 4-3, in Paff v. Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office, that such recordings were not subject to disclosure under OPRA because they were not “required by law” to be made and constituted criminal investigatory records deemed confidential under OPRA.
Just 11 days later, however, a different New Jersey court determined that the same criminal investigatory exemption did not apply to police body cams. Continue reading DIFFERENT RULINGS ON ACCESS TO POLICE RECORDINGS
Until a few days ago, I had never heard of Kevin Cooper, who has been on California’s death row for more than 30 years, after being convicted of a quadruple homicide in 2003 that he apparently did not commit.
Not until I read Nicholas Kristof’s article in the May 20 New York Times, entitled “Was Kevin Cooper Framed for Murder?”
Kristof, whose opinion pieces typically concern international human rights abuses, lays out a convincing case that Cooper was, in fact, framed.
Continue reading DEMAND DNA TEST TO PREVENT POSSIBLE WRONGFUL EXECUTION