All posts filed under: Repairing the System

Shameless Self-Promotion

comments 3
Heroes / Repairing the System

Back in 1969 I worked  in a legal services office in the Imperial Valley  on the California-Mexican Border.   Most of our clients were Mexican-Americans who had the usual poor people legal problems–rent arrears,  welfare, and  consumer debt. For instance, I  found  I had a large number of clients who were being dunned for unpaid bills at the County Hospital. Since my employer,  California Rural Legal Assistance (CRLA),  believed that we should not only represent […]

Blind Justice

Leave a comment
Repairing the System

Social Science tell us that situational pressures, more than personal  ethics, drive our decisions. Remember  the volunteers in a Yale study who willingly “tortured” people when directed to do so by authority figures. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Milgram_experiment It seems that almost every day we read of some  corporate rip-off of unsuspecting  consumers.  If we have any hope of controlling these fraudulent practices  our laws must put  in place incentives  for corporations to encourage ethical  behavior and prevent illegal […]

Creative Math

comments 2
Heroes / Repairing the System

I believe that imagination, not logic, is the essential ingredient in good legal reasoning.  But imagination need not be vague or dreamy. Sometimes the imaginative solution to a thorny legal problem can be as clear and simple as 1,2,3. A good example is found in a recent case involving the recurring evil of political gerrymanders. This NYT editorial tells the story well. http://www.nytimes.com/2016/12/03/opinion/where-unfair-voting-practices-begin.html?action=click&pgtype=Homepage&clickSource=story-heading&module=opinion-c-col-left-region&region=opinion-c-col-left-region&WT.nav=opinion-c-col-left-region&_r=0 “Gerrymander” is a term most people have heard of, but few understand. […]

The Story Behind the Story

Leave a comment
Repairing the System

What’s the story behind the story of Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke shooting 17 year old Laquan McDonald multiple times as the boy was walking away from him, but still claiming he acted in self-defense, a lie several of his fellow officers repeated in their official reports of the killing? And why would police officers lie in official reports, an act that could get them fired? And, finally, is McDonald’s death a tragic error […]

The Big Apple Shows How Free Lawyers for the Poor Pay for Themselves

Leave a comment
Democracy's Constitution / Repairing the System

Leyla Martinez is a good example of the problem and its solution. Ms. Martinez, a single mother, had just been evicted from her apartment in the Bronx after a year’s struggle representing herself in the New York Housing Court. Then she was able to contact an attorney at the Urban Justice Center; soon thereafter Ms. Martinez and her kids were back in their apartment. Seventy percent of low-income tenants come to housing court without a […]

Let’s Give Law a Chance

comments 6
Repairing the System / Repairing The Systen

We are all unhappy about continuing stories of widespread police abuse of African-American citizens, but there seems to be no effective remedy available. One egregious example was the police killing of  seventeen year old Laquan McDonald  in Chicago.  McDonald  was shot by officer Jason Van Dyke. Van Dyke claimed McDonald  was coming at him with a knife and he only  shot in self-defense. Several of his police colleagues filed statements corroborating Van Dyke’s story. Then a […]

Guilty Til Proven Innocent– and Even After!

comments 2
BurLAWcracy / Repairing the System

Amy Albritton learned the hard way that the American criminal justice system assumes that those charged with crime are guilty, at least until proven innocent, and sometimes even after. This article from the New York Times Magazine sets out Amy’s experience in detail. http://www.nytimes.com/2016/07/10/magazine/how-a-2-roadside-drug-test-sends-innocent-people-to-jail.html) Amy, the divorced mother of two children, had a good job as the manager of an apartment complex in Monroe, Louisiana when she left with a new boyfriend on a get-away […]

Irreversible Errors

Leave a comment
Repairing the System / Repairing The Systen

Thomas Thompson was executed by lethal injection eighteen years ago this month at the age of 43. After you read my post from a year ago I think you will agree that there is an excellent chance that Thompson never committed the crime that triggered his death. https://guileisgood.com/2015/06/15/some-judgments-are-too-final/ My brother, Quin Denvir, was Thompson’s lawyer. Shortly before his death, Quin wrote Governor Brown asking that he end executions in California. http://www.sacbee.com/news/politics-government/capitol-alert/article68540477.html I know that, as […]

“Gimme Shelter”

comments 2
Repairing the System

A couple of months ago I happened to be walking through San Francisco’s skid row and noticed a beautiful old church. I decided to look inside. At first my eyes were drawn towards the altar, but then I noticed someone sleeping in one of the pews. As my eyes became accustomed to the darkness, I realized that almost the whole church was filled with sleeping bodies.I asked myself “Why are all these people sleeping in […]

Getting to “Hopefully”

comment 1
Book/film List / Legal Fictions / Repairing the System

Reading the slick new law novel The Neon Lawyer (http://www.amazon.com/Neon-Lawyer-Victor-Methos-ebook/dp/B00K7MCE3C) persuades me that that recent law school grads might well think that law is the most embarrassing profession. Consider, first, the reaction of peers. Imagine a newly minted lawyer meeting someone he or she hopes might become a friend. In the flow of conversation, the lawyer mentions his or her profession. The interlocutor responds with a small enigmatic smile and the comment. “How interesting!” Think […]