aTypical Joe: a gay New Yorker living in the rural South
Sunday, September 23, 2007
Racial disparities in charging and sentencing
Nationally, black youths are significantly more likely to be tried as adults than are white youths, according to a January report from the National Council on Crime and Delinquency. The same report states that while black youths make up 16 percent of the general adolescent population, they make up 38 percent of the approximately 100,000 youths being held in local and state detention facilities.
The irony, some say, is that mass outpouring of support in cases like the Jena 6 may, in fact, obscure the real issues, where many criminal-defense lawyers can point to examples of prosecutorial zeal when dealing with black defendants.
“The public at large basically thinks that these cases are aberrations, and that’s one reason why so much attention is paid to them,” says Professor Nunn. “It’s the idea that it’s the redneck sheriff doing this and not the way we sort of stack the odds against black criminal defendants. We can point to a few bad apples, say, ‘See, it’s them,’ and the rest of us feel great because we’re demonstrating how we disagree with racism.”
Surely there’s a transcript out there somewhere.
But a defendant doesn’t always have to call witnesses. The State bears the burden of proof and the defendant can choose to leave the State to its burden. This is a frequent jury instruction and almost always a question during voir dire in a criminal case.
It is counter-intuitive, for sure. You have been accused of doing something, you tell your side of the story. If you have a defense, an alibi, you will present it. Prospective jurors, upon question, usually state that they understand why the defendant can choose not to present a defense. But do they believe it? I think the Jena Six coverage has a hint of that. He didn’t call any witnesses!?! is the incredulous tone.
He’s also the first place I’ve seen it noted that it was not just an all white jury, “the jury pool was all white. Which included a friend of the victim’s father.”
Racial disparities in death penalty in GA
The AJC’s special report on the death penalty in Georgia found there are indeed racial disparities:
The death penalty carries a racial bias in Georgia, but it’s not what most people think.
White killers are more likely to face capital prosecution and land on death row, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution found. The reason: White killers are more likely to kill white people.
A statistical analysis shows Georgia prosecutors were more than twice as likely to seek the death penalty when the victim was white. [...]
“Black victims have to be really, really brutalized before they’re treated the same as a white-victim case,” [University of Maryland criminologist Ray] Paternoster said. [...]
The analysis showed a similar difference in sentencing. When facing capital prosecution, killers of whites were more than twice as likely to land on death row. Eighteen of the last 20 murderers executed in Georgia were white. All but one killed white people.
Remember: Do Not Call Registrations Expire
Numbers placed on the registry, begun in June 2003, are valid for five years. For the millions of people who signed onto the list in its early days, their numbers will automatically drop off beginning next June if they do not enroll again. “It is incredibly quick and easy to do,” Lydia Parnes, director of the FTC’s bureau of consumer protection, said in an interview with The Associated Press this week. “It was so easy for people to sign up in the first instance. It will be just as easy for them to re-up.”
But Rep. Mike Doyle, D-Pa., says people should not be forced to re-register to keep telemarketers at bay. Doyle introduced legislation this week, with bipartisan support, to make registrations permanent. “When someone takes the time and effort to say ‘I don’t want these kinds of calls coming into my house,’ they shouldn’t have to keep a calendar to find out when they have to re-up to keep this nuisance from happening,” Doyle said in an interview.
The FTC built the five-year expiration date into the program to account for changes, such as people who move and switch their phone number, Parnes said. Doyle, however, points out that the list is purged each month of numbers that have been disconnected and reassigned to new customers. People can register their home and cell phone numbers or file complaints at http://www.donotcall.gov or by calling 1-888-382-1222.
Via James Joyner:
Why not simply outlaw the practice, period, except to people who have specifically opted in? This would, I’d wager, result in a much smaller database and make it far easier for consumers while also making it less likely that companies will be fined for accidental violation.
Cellphone hell: Gphone heaven on the horizon?
We’re trying to get new cellphones. We’ve been with Sprint out of momentum; and a decent contract. We’d stay but we’ve got lousy phones. Apparently Sprint wants new customers but cares bupkis about the old.
With a family plan, 2 phones (one 2-years-old the other 1) we can’t get a free or reasonably priced phone - even for signing another 2 year contract.
So goodbye Sprint.
But there are no easy alternatives and who among us wants to spend hours and hours and hours digging into the details of cell phone contracts? I wanted Google to win their points with the FCC over the 700 MHz spectrum auction.
Alas, They lost.
But Robert X. Cringely suggests there may be a fall-back plan. Bob’s just guessing, of course, but then he’s a pretty good guesser:
First let’s start by looking at the infrastructure Google has already built or committed to building - the largest fiber backbone in the world and the largest and most widely distributed data center build-out in the world. Both are FAR in excess of Google’s current or even future requirements UNLESS they are also intended to work with a massive 700-MHz wireless network.
Imagine a hybrid wireless broadband mesh network using 700-MHz connections for backhaul and some truly mobile links and WiFi for local service. Google has enough experience with WiFi in Mountain View to know that it isn’t, by itself, a good solution for wide area networks. The key failing of metro WiFi networks is backhaul to the Internet backbone. But if Google used its 700 MHz band for that AND implemented it as a true mesh network, there would easily be enough capacity to serve almost any size network given a suitable number of backbone connections. [...]
Google has experience, too, with hybrid wireless networks. Every Google employee has the chance to take a company bus to work and every Google bus has an EVDO-to-WiFi bridge so Googlers can surf the net on their way to work.
It would be really cool if this Google hybrid network was truly flat and could be maintained entirely within a single address space like, for example, the 76 billion billion billion IPv6 addresses Google already owns. The sudden existence of a massive IPv6 network would throw other ISPs into a tizzy and quickly drag the rest of the net into the 21st century, something else I could see as a Google ambition.
Finally, what links all of this together is something else I wrote about long ago - the Google Cube. This is an access device that contains 700-MHz and WiFi radios, a tiny Linux or Linux-likeserver, and a few gigs of flash RAM memory cache. It’s these Google Cubes that will mesh together, acting as both WiFi access points and 700 MHz mesh backhaul devices. Throw in some local caching, video preloading, and truly local DNS service and suddenly you have a pretty substantial network infrastructure that is not only massive and self-healing, IT IS ENTIRELY PAID FOR BY CUSTOMERS. All Google needs to provide are several thousand points-of-presence (cell towers) to connect the local mesh to the Internet backbone.
Google couldn’t do this with WiFi alone, but with 700-MHz meshing and backhaul they could make it work fairly easily and the entire network could be deployed in a couple months.
For those who can’t think past search, imagine this also as Google’s key to dominating local- and location-based search.
Forget about net neutrality and forget about making nice-nice with broadband ISPs OR phone companies. Google would overnight become the largest U.S. ISP with direct and very high-performance access to its customers, including those using the new Google Phone or any other phone that supports WiFi connections, like the iPhone and many others. Google becomes the biggest and lowest-cost ISP and potentially the biggest and lowest-cost mobile phone company in the bargain.
Now that’s what I am hoping for!
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