In the News

New judge taking over prison civil rights lawsuit as solutions sought

Barry Krisberg quoted in Daily Journal (registration required), September 15, 2014

“While there may be arguments about the best way to accomplish services for mentally ill inmates, we’re no longer arguing whether we should or shouldn’t do it.”

UC Berkeley team calls for US policies to narrow income gap

john a. powell quoted in San Francisco Chronicle, September 10, 2014

Part of the mission of UC Berkeley, as a public institution, is “to help provide solutions for the state and the country,” powell said. “We’re trying to get back to that tradition.”

Monument needed for lives lost to killings by law enforcement

James Rule writes for The Sacramento Bee, September 10, 2014

A broad coalition of civic-minded parties should call for creation of a national monument to those slain without justification by those entrusted with upholding the law. Both public and private funding should be sought for this effort.

Defense lawyers gaining ground in state legislature

Elisabeth Semel quoted in Daily Journal (registration required), September 10, 2014

“It’s an exciting development to see that there’s more interest and receptivity to legislation that improves protections for people accused of crimes.”

Why Maoist show trials in China aren’t going away any time soon

Stanley Lubman writes for The Wall Street Journal, China Real Time, September 10, 2014

The importance to the leadership of both the campaign against corruption and the crackdown on dissent strongly suggests that whatever measures are planned to carry out legal reform, the use of public confessions and “open trials” like that of Bo Xilai’s are likely to continue.

Ray Rice and domestic violence in the NFL

Nancy Lemon interviewed on 95.7-FM, Bucher and Towny, September 9, 2014

“The way that we treat athletes starting in high school going through college and into pro sports often gives them the impression that they are somehow above the rules of ordinary people…. We need to take all abuse seriously, even if it’s just the victim of the abuse saying that it happened.”

Councilman to propose bill to regulate costumed characters soliciting in Times Square

Jesse Choper quoted in The New York Times, September 8, 2014

“People do have a right to talk to people,” Mr. Choper said, “and you do have a right, if you aren’t blocking anyone’s path, to say, ‘Would you consider giving me some money?’”

BP ruling raises liability stakes for high-risk industries

Joseph Lavitt quoted in Reuters, September 5, 2014

“It sends a very cautionary message to the oil industry,” said Joseph Lavitt and expert on insurance law.

Changes urged after Lockett’s delayed execution

Megan McCracken quoted in Woodward News, September 5, 2014

“…When the department realized there was a problem, there was a communications breakdown that resulted in the execution team doing nothing to stabilize Mr. Lockett or address his pain and suffering for the last 10 minutes of his life, despite the fact that Director Patton had called off the execution.”

Oklahoma releases investigation on controversial execution

Jennifer Moreno quoted in NewsOK, September 4, 2014

Jen Moreno … said the lack of contingency plans and adequate training and supplies indicates there is a culture of carelessness regarding the death penalty within the state Corrections Department. “I question if any quick fixes to execution protocol will have an effect on that culture,” Moreno said.

IV difficulties behind botched Oklahoma execution

Megan McCracken quoted on, September 4, 2014

“Multiple factors contributed to Mr. Lockett’s badly bungled execution, including lacking of planning and training, a failure to set a functioning IV, and a failure to plan for contingencies. Many questions remain unanswered as to how the (Department of Corrections) allowed this to happen,” McCracken said in a statement.

California moves to tally sea-level rise risks, hunt down possible defenses

Michael Kiparsky quoted in ClimateWire, September 4, 2014

Mike Kiparsky … said that recently, there’s been “an explosion of interest” in adaptation strategies. “It’s an issue the state is going to have to grapple with in the near term” and in the longer term.

Proposition 47 ceases criminal charges; stirs little reaction

Barry Krisberg quoted in San Francisco Chronicle, September 3, 2014

“I think what is fascinating is that there seems to be almost no opposition to this,” says Barry Krisberg. “You’d think in the usual California politics you’d have the right saying this and the left saying something else. But there’s been no campaigning (in opposition) to speak of, no one is spending any money on defeating it and the polls have been running 60 percent positive.”

In Hobby Lobby ruling, a missing definition stirs debate

Steven Davidoff Solomon writes for The New York Times, September 2, 2014

For the first time, the Supreme Court applied religious protections to companies that were in the business of earning money instead of providing charity, and in doing so, it put a chink in the armor of the Affordable Care Act.

Cell-phone regulations are a workable model for the Internet

James Tuthill writes for San Francisco Chronicle, September 2, 2014

Now that those rules have been overturned by the court, we are seeing the consequences of a landscape without meaningful protections: In just six months, Netflix has entered into paid priority agreements with the three largest ISPs. These agreements likely would have been unlawful under the rules the court overturned.

White House threat sparks call for wider immigration debate

Jonathan Simon quoted in TribLIVE, August 30, 2014

“Our consumption of drugs is what’s funding organized crime in their countries, and the resulting violence caused by those gangs is why they’re fleeing,” Simon said.

White officers predominate on Bay Area police forces

Justin McCrary interviewed on KQED-FM, Forum with Michael Krasny, August 28, 2014

“It’s absolutely right that the diversity of the police department improves in the wake of litigation. There’s a broader question of whether that’s something that is necessary for diversity to improve, and I don’t think that’s right. Diversity does improve even in the absence of litigation, but litigation does seem to be a powerful force for that.”

Heavy police tactics a reality for immigrants, Latinos too

Ian Haney López quoted in NBC News, Latino blog, August 28, 2014

“In the black community and in the Latino community, what you see now are protests against the way we have been dehumanized. That dehumanization is reflected in state policies and over policing,” said Ian Haney López.

‘Clean Slate’ programs may boost future earnings, study finds

Jeffrey Selbin and Justin McCrary study cited in The Wall Street Journal, August 28, 2014

[T]he Clean Slate intervention stems the earnings slide, and may even boost earnings (also independent of the economy). The data are not robust enough to say with certainty that earnings rise post-intervention—we only have 2-3 years of earnings information post-service and were able to collect earnings information on a small number of clients—but the trends are in the right direction.

A push is on in the US to reunite families torn apart by El Salvador’s civil war

Cristián Orrego Benavente quoted in PRI, The World, August 28, 2014

“What we want with the outreach campaign is that we now begin to receive or to contact families in this country that say ‘we lost a child,’” Orrego said.