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When Flakiness Becomes Criminal

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There are a lot of flaky people in the world, people with strange and stupid ideas that defy logic and science.  They have the right to be flaky as long as they don't hurt anyone else.  When flaky people become parents, though, they may very well hurt someone else.  Ross Guidotti reports for KDKA in Pittsburg:

A mother in Fayette County is facing charges for allegedly starving her 11-month-old son.

The child's father brought the boy to CYS and told them that his estranged wife was "obsessed" with following a strict diet, and only fed the child fruit and nuts.

Elizabeth Hawk, 33, is charged with endangering the welfare of a child after investigators say she allegedly failed to give her 11-month-old son sufficient food.

Answer Found for Rising Violent Crime

Earlier today, I posted the news that violent crime, and murder in particular, had risen by double digit percentages in 2015.  (Actually, this has been known for months, and Kent and I have often said as much, but the official UCR statistics came out today).

It did not take long for the founder of Black Lives Matter to come up with the solution: Get rid of the police.  And no, I am not making this up.  The article begins thusly:

Since policing is a problem, the police should be removed from communities altogether, according to Black Lives Matter founder Alicia Garza.

Garza argued that the United States gives too much respect to police officers, explaining that when police do wrong, a few bad cops are blamed, rather than a "corroded and corrupt system."

"Quite frankly, many of our [Black Lives Matter] members are continuing to investigate what it would mean to have police-free communities. I think what we've continued to see over time is that no moral appeal is actually stopping the deaths of black people, whether they be armed or unarmed." Garza told Complex.

I believe BLM is the most audaciously lying social movement I have seen in my forty-some years as a lawyer and law professor.  The murder rate got cut by more than half in the two decades (1992-2012) in which the number of police in this country rose substantially.  Since blacks are disproportionately murder victims, they were disproportionately beneficiaries of the decreased murder rate.

Complacency Mongers, Start Your Engines!

Today, the FBI came out with a shocking crime report.  A total of 1,532 more people were murdered in the United States in 2015 than the year before.  This represents an 11% increase in the number of murders.  The murder rate was higher in 2015 than at any time since 2009.  We have lost six (or now, more likely seven) years of progress against our most serious crime.

This dreadful news should set off alarm bells, but it won't.  It will set off the complacency brigade.  We will be told, for example, that it's just a "statistical variation."  

Right!  Two percent or three percent or possibly even five percent might be a "statistical variation."  Eleven percent is not.  It shows a change in behavior with a cause. Academics and policy makers should be concerned about this, rather than concerned about finding a way to dismiss it.  But you know that's not going to happen.

Two Years of a Staggering Surge in Murder

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Prof. Doug Berman of SL&P is often maddeningly honest, much to the consternation of his numerous liberal and libertarian followers.  His article today provides a good example.  In the face of a Brennan Center "study" that purports to find not a whole lot to worry about on the national crime front, Doug notes this sentence buried below a bunch of bullet points in the Center's work:

Nationally, the murder rate is projected to increase 31.5 percent from 2014 to 2016 -- with half of additional murders attributable to Baltimore, Chicago, and Houston.

When the murder rate increases by nearly a third in two years, that, ladies and gentlemen, is a national crisis.  (And yes, it's true that if you subtract enough of the cities with the biggest increases, then, nationally, you'll get a smaller (though still startling) increase.  Maybe the Brennan Center thinks its readership hasn't learned fifth grade math).

The Criminal Justice Summit

I've been remiss in not having posted tapes of the panels from last week's Washington Post Criminal Justice Summit.

The panel on which I appeared, concerning the role of prosecutors (and by extension, prosecutions) is here.

The panel specifically about sentencing reform, featuring NAAUSA President Steve Cook and House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte, is here.

The half hour interview with Attorney General Loretta Lynch is here.

For those with the time, the whole ball of wax is here.  Readers might be interested in seeing how thoroughly the discussion inside the Beltway is dominated by those who tend to see criminals as victims.  If Trump is elected, the shock waves in DC will be unlike anything I have experienced in my forty-plus years in this town.

The Age of Consent Keeps Getting Lower

As I noted in my last entry, the Washington Post has superb crime reporting, and this story is no exception.  Its title is, "Ex-mayor charged in 4 year-old's rape said girl was a willing participant, records say."

A former Ohio mayor indicted on rape charges reportedly confessed that he had sex with a child -- a young girl, who, the man claimed, was a willing participant.

Court records filed Monday describe conversations in which Richard Keenan -- who briefly served as the mayor of Hubbard -- talked to several people, including his wife and a pastor, about alleged assaults that occurred over the course of two years, beginning in 2013, when the girl was 4.

The 65-year-old Keenan, who once described himself as a man of faith, was indicted last month on eight counts of gross sexual imposition, eight counts of rape and four counts of attempted rape.

Remember this when someone claiming to be "a man of faith" starts holding forth on, say, the immorality of the death penalty.  Faith is (in my personal opinion) a constructive and sometimes miraculous force, but it does not, in this country, have any additional weight in arguments about secular law.

Washington Post Criminal Justice Summit

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The Washington Post, which has had numerous articles detailing the shocking leniency of DC's criminal justice system, and has covered surging mayhem in nearby Baltimore, will host a Criminal Justice Summit tomorrow starting at 9 a.m. EDT.  It will be live streamed here:[]   

Participants will include Attorney General Loretta Lynch, Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe and Chairman Bob Goodlatte of the House Judiciary Committee.  Also speaking will be Steve Cook, President of NAAUSA, and yours truly.

Should be a fun show.

15 Years Ago and Today

On September 11, 2001, the grim reality became so unmistakably clear that every American understood it.  There is evil in the world, and evil must be fought.  For a brief time, a wave of patriotism swept the country.  We saw Hollywood lefties up on the stage singing old-fashioned patriotic songs.  We had not seen such unity in my lifetime and probably will not see it again.

Today, it is once again fashionable for prominent figures to declare their hatred for their own country.  A entire movement denigrating the people who risk their lives to protect us from evil has been born from a slanderous lie.  Our academics have turned our colleges into very expensive indoctrination camps where our young people are fed a single-viewpoint diet of opposition to the principles that made this country great.  They are taught a distorted vision of our history that diminishes and denigrates the great accomplishments of our founders and focuses obsessively on the shortcomings.

It is discouraging that so little progress had been made and that in many areas we are headed in the wrong direction.  Today let us rededicate ourselves to putting our country back on the right track.
To listen to BLM and its allies, Amerika is hellbent to imprison those it "dislikes," with African Americans heading the list.

Like so much the Left says, it's simply false.  As the Washington Post writes in an article by Stanford Professor Keith Humphreys, "Black incarceration hasn't been this low in a generation."

Th[e] heated debate about whether the 1994 [Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act] is responsible for African Americans increasingly being behind bars can never be resolved, for a reason that may surprise many observers: The African American imprisonment rate has been declining for many years. Indeed, the likelihood of African American men and women being in prison today is lower than it was a generation ago when the law was passed...

I would love to think (but don't) that the Left is merely behind the times rather than deceitful.  Unfortunately, since it has spent years falsely claiming that more incarceration doesn't contribute significantly to decreasing crime, and months falsely claiming that violent crime is at "historic lows" (it's been rising since 2014), belief in its mere failure to keep up has become impossible.

I should note that the decrease in the rate of black incarceration began on approximately the day George W. Bush became President, and has continued under his successor.  In addition, the amount of the decrease in the incarceration rate for black males over that time is an amazingly large 23%, and the decrease for black females more than twice that much.

You Only Have to Connect Two Dots

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Let's see if liberals who would end "criminalization" of what they call "minor" offenses can see any relationship between these two stories.  The first is from May 27:

New York City formally passed legislation this week that steers punishment for offenses such as public urination, littering, and drinking in public away from criminal court....[The bill's main sponsor] said on Wednesday that the reform "is going to change trajectories for countless New Yorkers," according to an [AP] report.

The second, from yesterday, is titled, "Crackheads, Bums and Hookers Rule Washington Square Park":

Just three weeks before NYU's newest class moves into the area, a group of junkies and crackheads has turned a leafy pathway in Washington Square Park into an open-air drug den -- and the NYPD is doing nothing about it.

As many as 20 strung-out vagrants have taken over several benches in the park's northwest corner, where they openly consume hard drugs just steps from the children's playground, outraged neighbors said.

Those who forget the past, etc.

From an essay in the current Claremont Review of Books by John Marini:

[Today's] intellectuals have pronounced their historical judgment on America's past, finding it to be morally indefensible. Every great human achievement of the past--whether in philosophy, religion, literature, or the humanities--came to be understood as a kind of exploitation of the powerless. Rather than allowing the past to be viewed in terms of its aspirations and accomplishments, it has been judged by its failures. The living part of the past is understood in terms slavery, racism, and identity politics. Political correctness arose as the practical and necessary means of enforcing this historical judgment. No public defense of past greatness could be allowed to live in the present. Public morality and public policy would come to be understood in terms of the formerly oppressed.

The entire essay (not short) is here.

I bring this up because, ultimately, the problem we are having with fidelity to law  -- what with, among many other things, the surge in violent crime and the denial and cluelessness we see in response  --  reminds me of what we saw in the Seventies.  It was another time of cultural rot impersonating advanced thinking.

In academia, then as now, the professoriate was an accomplice when it wasn't a ringleader.  From my minor post at Georgetown Law, I respectfully dissent.
We don't need to guess about what liberal policies like widespread sentencing reduction and less proactive policing will do to our citizens, and minorities in particular.  We already have a good deal of evidence.

The most recent is yesterday's story out of a one-party, "progressive" city, Chicago:  "Homicide Rate Surging for Black Chicagoans, Report Finds."  Mayor Rahm Emanuel told us why in a moment of remarkable candor last fall.

Then there's the murder wave overtaking another one-party, "progressive" (and largely black) city, Baltimore. I covered that story a couple of days ago, with special thanks to "space to destroy" Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake and "plenty-of-talk-but-no-convictions" State's Attorney Marilyn Mosby.

Then there's the national picture on murder, a picture uglier and more ominous now than it has been for decades.  It is true, as former Attorney General Eric Holder said last night, that "violent crime has gone down since President Obama took office." What Mr. Holder neglected to mention was that (1) it has gone down in significant measure because of policies he, the President, and Hillary Clinton are doing their best to reverse, and (2) since his successor was installed in April 2015, the murder rate in America's largest cities (where blacks tend to be concentrated) has skyrocketed.  If the trend that has been in place since Loretta Lynch took the reins continues, by Christmas, we will have lost six years of gains against violent crime.

If this is what you want for America's future, you know where to throw your support.

The Wall Street Journal carries an article of considerable concern.  It's titled, "Murders Rise in 29 of the Largest Cities in First Half of 2016."  It starts:

The number of murders in 29 of the nation's largest cities rose during the first six months of the year, according to the results of a survey released by the Major Cities Chiefs Association on Monday.

Overall, homicides jumped 15% in the 51 large cities that submitted crime data, compared with the same year-ago period. 

The article notes that the 15% figure is artificially high to some extent because of Chicago's out-of-control violent crime and the gruesome Jihadist attack in Orlando. What it fails to note is that murder rose by 17% in the 50 largest cities last year. An increase of 17% in 2015, combined with (even an inflated) increase of 15% so far in 2016, is shocking.  There's no other way to put it.

Shocking, that is, unless, like the Major Cities Chiefs  --  an overwhelmingly liberal group that marches arm-in-arm with the Brennan Center  --  you have a stake in minimizing the problem.

Pyramid schemes are illegal, but what exactly is a pyramid scheme?  Herbalife will not be called a pyramid scheme, according to its agreement with the FTC, but that will cost it 200 megabucks. That's a lot of protein shakes. 

David Benoit and Brent Kendall report for the WSJ.
Liberals know that it will be harder than ever to sell sentencing reduction and other versions of criminal justice "reform" if crime is heading up.  This is the main reason they lie about our current, quite troubling crime statistics, see Kent's entry here and mine here.

They did it again today.  Washington, DC's police chief, no less, claimed that robberies are down 20% in the District.

The Washington Post looked into it.  The claim is point-blank false.  Robberies are up notably (although probably not as much as murder).

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