Free for now, former U.S. Rep. Corrine Brown is back in her element

THE FLORIDA TIMES-UNION, 19 MAY  2017, FEAT. PROF. COLIN MILLER:  Former U.S. Rep. Corrine Brown was convicted May 11 on 18 counts of conspiracy, mail and wire fraud and tax crimes.

Brown’s defense lawyer said after the jury reached its verdict he would seek a new trial. Smith hasn’t said how, but the most obvious route seems to be attacking U.S. District Judge Timothy Corrigan’s decision to remove a juror who said “the Holy Spirit” told him Brown was innocent.

At first glance, it seems Smith might have a chance at getting his new trial, but it’s far from guaranteed, said Colin Miller, an associate dean at the University of South Carolina’s School of Law.

“It’s going to depend very much on the exact facts” of what Corrigan and the juror said before the judge made his decision, said Miller, who has researched and written about challenging jury verdicts.

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Similarities run through Neenah, Appleton shootings

POST-CRESCENT (APPLETON, WI), 9 JUNE, 2017, FEAT. PROF. SETH STOUGHTON:

The fatal police shootings at Eagle Nation Cycles in Neenah and Jack’s Apple Pub in Appleton bear unnerving similarities.

Though the circumstances were different — one stemmed from a hostage situation at a motorcycle shop and the other from a fight at a bar — the result was the same: Police shot and killed an innocent man at a downtown business.

Seth Stoughton, an assistant professor at the University of South Carolina School of Law and a former police officer, said police shooting deaths demand a high level of scrutiny.

Stoughton said the use of deadly force by an officer, even if the action was reasonable, “represents the most invasive and serious intrusion by a government actor into a private civilian’s life.”

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Law professor says U.S. exit from climate deal sends global message

SOUTH CAROLINA RADIO NETWORK, 2 JUNE 2017, FEAT. PROF. NATHAN RICHARDSON:

A University of South Carolina environmental law professor said the U.S.’s withdrawal from the Paris Agreement climate accord goes beyond just the natural impact.

Nathan Richardson told South Carolina Radio Network that it also sends the world a message about what could happen with other foreign agreements like trade deals. “I think that’s the real risk here beyond big short term changes in climate or energy policy,” said Richardson.

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Why schools still can’t put segregation behind them

THE CONVERSATION, 6 JUNE 2017, FEAT. PROF. DEREK BLACK:

A federal district court judge has decided that Gardendale – a predominantly white city in the suburbs of Birmingham, Alabama – can move forward in its effort to secede from the school district that serves the larger county. The district Gardendale is leaving is 48 percent black and 44 percent white. The new district would be almost all white.

The idea that a judge could allow this is unfathomable to most, but the case demonstrates in the most stark terms that school segregation is still with us. While racial segregation in U.S. schools plummeted between the late 1960s and 1980, it has steadily increased ever since – to the the point that schools are about as segregated today as they were 50 years ago.

As a former school desegregation lawyer and now a scholar of educational inequality and law, I have both witnessed and researched an odd shift to a new kind of segregation that somehow seems socially acceptable. So long as it operates with some semblance of furthering educational quality or school choice, even a federal district court is willing to sanction it.

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San Diego State University Researchers Watered Down a Police Racial-Profiling Study

PACIFIC STANDARD, 2 JUNE 2017, FEAT. PROF. SETH STOUGHTON:

When a long-awaited study on whether the San Diego Police Department engages in racial profiling finally dropped in late November, the results were unsurprising: It found that black and Hispanic drivers were more likely to be searched, though they were less likely to actually have contraband items, and that minority drivers were more likely to be subjected to field interviews.

When it came to the overarching question of whether officers and SDPD as a whole showed racial bias, however, San Diego State researchers were restrained: Though they found significant differences in the way minorities and white drivers were treated, researchers were careful to point out that such differences “are by no means unique to the SDPD” and that findings only “suggest” that implicit, or unconscious, bias “may exist” among officers.

But a draft copy of the study obtained by Voice of San Diego through public records requests was far more aggressive.

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Autonomous cars (no human backup) may hit the road next year

TIMES UNION, 7 JUNE 2017, FEAT. PROF. BRYANT WALKER SMITH:

DETROIT (AP) — Autonomous vehicles with no human backup will be put to the test on publicly traveled roads as early as next year in what may be the first attempt at unassisted autonomous piloting.

Automotive electronics and parts maker Delphi and French transport company Transdev plan to use autonomous taxis and a shuttle van to carry passengers on roadways in France.

The companies on Wednesday said they plan to combine Delphi’s self-driving technology with Transdev’s knowledge of mobility operations. Transdev operates trains, buses, ferries and other transportation services in 19 countries, including the U.S.

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Trump budget would abandon public education for private choice

THE CONVERSATION, 23 MAY 2017, FEAT. PROF. DEREK BLACK:

The Trump administration has announced its plan to transform education funding as we know it. The new budget proposal takes aim at a host of elementary, secondary and higher education programs that serve needy students, redirecting those funds toward K-12 school choice in the form of vouchers, tax credits and charter schools.

Public schools that enroll a large percentage of low-income students stand to lose significant chunks of their budget, as well as a number of specialized federal programs for their students. At the same time, the Trump budget will incentivize families to leave not only these schools, but public schools in general.

As a scholar of education law and policy, I note that my recent research on state voucher and charter programs shows that the loss of both money and core constituents proposed by this new budget could throw public education into a downward spiral.

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Terry v. Ohio and the (Un)Forgettable Frisk

SSRN, 26 MAY 2017, FEAT. PROF. SETH STOUGHTON:

This essay is a contribution to a symposium in recognition of the fiftieth anniversary of Terry v. Ohio.

When I was first asked to participate in this symposium reflecting on the fiftieth anniversary of Terry v. Ohio, I had trouble identifying how I could contribute. Legal scholars, after all, have criticized Terry for almost the entire half-century it’s been on the books. What is there left for me to say that hasn’t already been said, often with far more eloquence than I could hope to muster? With some misgivings, I turned for inspiration to a topic that I am typically reluctant to emphasize in my scholarship: my own experiences serving as a police officer at a large municipal police department. As I considered the role Terry has played over the last fifty years, I realized that perhaps my most significant contribution comes not from what I can say, but from what I can’t.

I can’t tell you about the first time I stopped and frisked someone. In fact, I can’t tell you about any of the frisks I conducted. I can’t, because I don’t remember them.

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Why Inglewood has given few details of a deadly police shooting even after the 5 officers involved left the force

LOS ANGELES TIMES, 2 JUNE 2017, FEAT. PROF. SETH STOUGHTON:

Fifteen months have passed since five Inglewood police officers unleashed a barrage of bullets at a Chevy sedan stopped at a busy intersection, killing the man and woman inside.

Despite protests, a civil lawsuit and two separate investigations, Inglewood officials have released few details about how Kisha Michael and Marquintan Sandlin were shot dead.

The city announced this week that the five officers involved in the shooting were no longer on the force and that an internal investigation had been completed. Still, Mayor James T. Butts Jr. and Police Chief Mark Fronterotta have balked at releasing a detailed account of the Feb. 21, 2016, incident.

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South Carolina consulting firm’s ‘tentacles’ have created an ‘unprecedented’ political power structure

THE POST AND COURIER, 13 MAY 2017, FEAT. PROF. JOHN FREEMAN:

In South Carolina one political consulting firm represents more than 25 lawmakers, a couple of large state agencies and a quartet of the state’s biggest corporations.

The firm has amassed the kind of power that can steer legislation, push wish lists in the state budget, mold regulations or kill proposals even before they have a hearing. It’s the kind of power that has built the perception that hiring this firm is necessary to getting business done in the state.

Questions over the propriety of that kind of influence are facing Richard Quinn & Associates as the powerful Columbia-area consulting firm remains the focus of a Statehouse corruption investigation that is once again showing signs of life after a two-month public hiatus.

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