Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Around the Blogs, Tuesday, May 29, 2007

  • A while back I reviewed a book on cognitive dissonance and the extremely hard time we have admitting we are wrong. One of the best things about that book was its scathing putdown of what we here call "bad DAs" who find themselves unable EVER to admit that that might not have been God whispering in their ear after all, the folks who, despite convincing new evidence to the contrary, nevertheless insist on asserting that they couldn't, just couldn't, have sent an innocent person to prison. Talk Left has the new leader in DA absurdity in this post about the guy who is now MT's Attorney General who convicted someone for rape whose DNA proved not to match that found on the victim. According to the God-inspired AG/former DA, "McGrath . . . cited several possibilities, including that the victim was sexually active with someone else or that her 11-year-old sister was sexually active while wearing her younger sister's underwear. The veteran prosecutor also suggested that the DNA could have been from the child's father and that the girl's parents had sex on their daughter's bed and left DNA, or that the father assaulted the girl." . . . omigod. Here's that messy (and/or perverted) father's response: "The victim's father, whose identity is being withheld to protect the identity of the victim, accused McGrath of making 'reckless statements that will cause more harm to the victim and her family. ... Needless to say, we are deeply offended by his remarks. Deeply offended.'" Want to know what a good and responsible DA (yes, they exist and save their profession) says? Here's the guy who released the innocent inmate: "Paxinos, informed of McGrath's views, said, 'I had [the innocent inmate] cut loose because his DNA did not match the DNA in the case. He could not be the perpetrator unless you believed the 8-year-old was having sex with multiple men. That would be far-fetched.'" Uh, how many people in the world really need to be told this? What kind of person would believe otherwise? Honest to God, not only should we require that any prosecutor, judge, and defense counsel complete a rigorous program in criminal prosecution and defense, we should require that no one be allowed to practice or judge until they have been certified (and the instruments exist) not to have this destructive inability to see and admit their own humanity. Yes, we'd have to grandfather it in or 95% of courtrooms would be empty since at least one of the three would almost always fail, and yes, I'm only kidding. About 10%.
  • Real Cost of Prisons continues its great catches with this Fresno Bee editorial on the fake solutions for CA's Gordian Knot of prisons, actually going so far as to wish for the old days that brought on the "reforms" that brought on the present mess: "The Adult Authority was arbitrary; it tended to be racist, and it punished prisoners who spoke out. But it was, in the end, more humane than what we've got now. Prisoners had a motive to behave well in prison and to rehabilitate, because that was the key to freedom. True fiscal conservatives, Ronald Reagan and Jerry Brown, were running our state then. Prison sentences were relatively short, and our prisons were dungeons where corruption, brutality and neglect were rampant. Given what has happened since, perhaps this was a good thing. Perhaps we should have left well enough alone." Evidence and knowledge guided neither system Good people in CA are trying to change that, but, as I've gotten older and/or more experienced (the "wiser" is hopeless), I look on with hope and good wishes but no expectations whatsoever. Sometimes, when people are determined to be foolish, like addicts and policymakers throwing money at crime problems, you just have to let the disaster happen, let rock bottom slam into them before they can admit they're wrong. (See "MT Attorney General.")
  • Pam Clifton at Think Outside the Cage has a lot of good stuff up, including prisons and aging offenders, homeless parolees, helping kids with parents in prison, and drug courts and yoga. Oh, and Pam? I sat in on a presentation state police made to state judges on the intricacies of making meth while I was in WI. We, of course, were trustworthy. One of many valuable things I learned in my time there.
  • Finally, at Prevention Works, "May 25 is National Missing Children’s Day. It is a day intended to remind us of one of the most heinous of crimes, the abduction of children. However, the safety of our children is an issue that we all need to be concerned about. The National Crime Prevention Council (NCPC) has partnered with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children to provide safety information for events going on across the country for the center’s TAKE 25 campaign, the goal of which is to heighten awareness of child safety issues." As always, the good folks there provide great pointers and link you to their sites for more info. Be sure to pass all those good words along.


Christie Donner, Ex. Director and Pamela Clifton, Outreach Coordinator said...

No danger of your group falling out and going off to become a meth chemist to support your habit, eh?

My issue (of course) is that they didn't hold a class afterwards on addiction and how meth makes people so crazy that they want to make battery acid dope in their bathtub.

Michael Connelly said...

I just never knew aluminum foil and pop bottles could have so many uses. Made me realize what I sheltered life I've led.