Why There Are So Many Bad Sheriffs

GOVERNING.COM, APRIL 2018, FEAT. PROF. SETH STOUGHTON:

No matter how tight the food budget, you can always find ways to cut corners. The state of Alabama sends counties a paltry $1.75 per day to feed each inmate locked up in jail, but sheriffs often manage to spend a good deal less than that. They have a strong incentive to do so. The sheriffs get to keep whatever they don’t spend, which in some cases has reached well into the six figures. Daily ration money adds up. 

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Black’s article published in Stanford Law Review

Prof. Derek Black’s article, “The Constitutional Compromise to Guarantee Education,” has been published in Volume 70 of the Stanford Law Review.

ABSTRACT:
Although the U.S. Supreme Court refused to recognize education as a fundamental right in San Antonio Independent School District v. Rodriguez, the Court in several other cases has emphasized the possibility that the Constitution might afford some protection for education. New litigation is attempting to fill that void. This litigation comes at a perfect time. Segregation, poverty, and achievement gaps are all rising, while state courts and federal agencies have recently retreated from enforcing educational equity. 

New litigation, however, has yet to offer a theory of why the Constitution should protect students’ educational rights, relying instead on the fact that the Court has consistently emphasized the importance of education. Prompting a significant doctrinal shift to protect education will require more than laudatory dicta. It will require a compelling affirmative constitutional theory. 

This Article offers that theory. It demonstrates that the Framers of the Fourteenth Amendment specifically intended to guarantee education as a right of state citizenship. This simple concept was obscured by the unusually complex ratification of the Amendment. First, the Amendment required the assent of Confederate states that were no longer part of the Union. Second, Congress expressly indicated that it would not readmit those states to the Union until they ratified the Fourteenth Amendment and rewrote their state constitutions. Third, education was part of the deal: Congress permitted states to retain discretion over education but expected state constitutions to affirmatively guarantee education. 

Through this process, education became an implicit right of the Fourteenth Amendment’s Citizenship Clause. As a right of state citizenship and consistent with historical practices and goals, this Article argues that the Fourteenth Amendment prohibits states from partisan and other illegitimate manipulations of educational opportunity.

South Carolina Moves to Shield Names of Police Involved in Shootings

SPUTNIK NEWS, 5 APRIL 2018, FEAT. PROF. SETH STOUGHTON:

After four Greenville County Sheriff’s Deputies fatally shot 35-year-old Jermaine Massey on March 19, 2018 the officers were placed on administrative leave until the conclusion of the investigation. Unless their actions result in criminal charges, they will remain unnamed.

“While a case is under review and no charges are made, we’re not going to identify a particular officer who had just had to use his service weapon,” Wilkins told Greenville News. “We’re not going to subject him to scrutiny by the public until a case has been vetted and completed.”

Wilkin’s policy makes exceptions for officers whose identities are already exposed, for example, by a bystander’s video of their shooting.

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Florida law allows driverless vehicles. Does the law go too far?

TAMPA BAY TIMES, 2 APRIL 2018, FEAT. PROF. BRYANT WALKER SMITH:

To many, driverless cars still seem a far-off concept, one their grandkids might experience. But state Sen. Jeff Brandes has spent the better half of the past decade making them a reality in Florida.

The St. Petersburg Republican pushed to make the state a leader in autonomous vehicles, starting with legislation in 2012 that made it legal for self-driving cars to operate on Florida’s roads. Bills that followed removed the need for a human to be in the car at all.

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Askwith Debates – Charter Schools: Expanding Opportunity or Reinforcing Divides?

HARVARD EDUCATION, 29 MARCH 2018, FEAT. PROF. DEREK BLACK:

Rapid growth in the number of public charter schools, which now serve more than three million students nationwide, has sparked debate over their implications for educational equity. Proponents contend that charters provide an escape valve for low-income, mostly minority students in struggling school districts, while critics allege that charters serve a select few, reinforce racial and economic school segregation, and destabilize urban communities. Some prominent organizations within the civil rights community have called for a moratorium on charter growth. Do charter schools enhance or undermine equity in American education? Should their growth be encouraged or curtailed? Join us as leading educators, policymakers, and researchers come together to debate the charter school movement and its future.

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‘Hey, mute’: After they shot Stephon Clark, officers cut their audio. And that adds to the outcry

LA TIMES, 31 MARCH 2018, FEAT. PROF. SETH STOUGHTON:

Among the unanswered questions that have fueled anger in the wake of Stephon Clark’s shooting is why officers muted their body cameras after firing 20 shots at the unarmed black man.

Community activists and the Clark family’s attorney say the silencing came at an unsettling moment, as officers were regrouping following the shooting. Sacramento’s police chief said the issue is part of the investigation, adding that the decision to turn off the audio “builds suspicion.”

The incident draws attention to law enforcement rules dictating when officers can switch off the audio on their body cameras, coming at a time when the devices increasingly are being used to record police interactions with the public. Policies on muting cameras vary from department to department.

Officers muted body cameras in Stephon Clark shooting. Why?

CNN, 26 MARCH 2018, FEAT. PROF. SETH STOUGHTON:

About seven minutes after Sacramento police fatally shot an unarmed black man in his grandmother’s backyard last week, officers were instructed to mute their body cameras.

Stephon Clark, 22, was in the backyard March 18 when two police officers shot at him 20 times. Police said they thought he was holding a gun. But investigators say they did not find a weapon at the scene, only a cellphone near the man’s body.
 

Body cameras tell truth, right? Not so fast, professor warns

JACKSONVILLE.COM, 23 MARCH 2018, FEAT. PROF. SETH STOUGHTON:

The law professor had one main message for prosecutors when he came to town: You shouldn’t always believe your eyes.

As the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office and the police union hammer out details to implement body-worn cameras, prosecutors took an afternoon last week to learn how to use that evidence in court.

“As a prosecutor, any time we can have video footage of significant events in a criminal action it’s essential for us,” Chief Assistant State Attorney Mac Heavener said before the training. “The jury essentially becomes a witness to the things that happened.”

But then Seth Stoughton, a University of South Carolina law professor and one of the foremost body camera experts, raised his hand to interject. “Actually, I’m going to spend time this afternoon about why that’s not true.”

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All for Civil Rights: Exploring the History of South Carolina’s African-American Lawyers

Wednesday, March 28, W. Lewis Burke, professor emeritus at the School of Law, draws from his book, “All for Civil Rights,” to deliver a talk on the history of South Carolina’s African-American lawyers and their legal education. The lecture begins at 5 p.m. at the School of Law and will be followed by a reception and book signing. The event is free and open to the public, but registration is encouraged: http://scblacklawyerslecture.eventbrite.com