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Four decades later, scholars re-examine ‘Moynihan Report’

first_imgBefore he was a United States senator from New York, before he was ambassador to India, before he taught government at Harvard, Daniel Patrick Moynihan (1927-2003) served as assistant secretary of labor under Presidents Kennedy and Johnson, and it was in that capacity that he issued a report in March 1965 titled “The Negro Family: The Case for National Action.”Originally intended as an internal memorandum providing support for Johnson’s War on Poverty, the report asserted that a disturbing proportion of African-American families suffered from instability and breakdown, that this condition resulted in a cycle of joblessness and poverty, and that the root of the problem was the psychological and social damage caused by slavery.Soon after being issued, the report was leaked to the press and immediately became the object of violent controversy. Critics accused Moynihan of attacking the black family, stigmatizing black men, and marginalizing black women. One such response to what came to be called “The Moynihan Report” was the book “Blaming the Victim” (1970) by William Ryan (who coined this still-popular phrase). On the other hand, prominent black leaders like Roy Wilkins, Whitney Young, and Martin Luther King Jr. endorsed Moynihan’s findings.This past week (Sept. 27–29), more than four decades after the report’s publication, Harvard’s Department of Sociology, the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research, and the American Academy of Political and Social Science held a conference of social scientists and policy analysts to re-examine Moynihan’s work.Kicking off the event were presentations by two prominent social scientists who have spent their careers grappling with many of the same issues that Moynihan dealt with in his report: James Q. Wilson, the Ronald Reagan Professor of Public Policy at Pepperdine University, and William Julius Wilson, the Lewis P. and Linda L. Geyser University Professor at Harvard.James Q. Wilson spoke first. The author or co-author of 15 books on politics, crime, marriage, and morality, Wilson was the Shattuck Professor of Government at Harvard from 1961 to 1987, and in that capacity he recruited Moynihan to teach at Harvard. Wilson began by pointing out the contrast between the Moynihan Report’s stormy reception in 1965 and strong positive response to Moynihan’s Godkin Lectures at Harvard in 1985, in which he made virtually the same arguments.The change, Wilson said, resulted largely from a disturbing statistic: in 1965, one-quarter of black children were born out of wedlock; 20 years later, one-quarter of white children were born out of wedlock. “Whites realized that this was a national problem,” Wilson said.Although no one knew for certain in 1965 what effect growing up in a single-parent family had on children, today as the result of longitudinal studies, we know the experience harms children, Wilson said. “And we know it harms boys more than girls.”Later, in response to a question, Wilson explained succinctly why marriage was important.“Marriage was invented to control men. Men like sex, but they don’t like taking care of children, unless they’re born in their own family. Getting men to take responsibility for women and the children they father is one of the most difficult tasks society faces.”Wilson said that Moynihan’s emphasis on the importance of marriage was reinforced by personal experience. Moynihan grew up poor in a single-parent family and as a boy shined shoes on the streets of New York.“He never deviated from the view that the family was the core of culture,” Wilson said.And yet, during all his years as a policy expert, an academic, and a lawmaker, Moynihan never came up with an effective program by which government could encourage marriage and the development of stable families.“Someone once asked him what government could do about the problem,” James Q. Wilson said. “Moynihan replied, ‘If you think government can restore marriage, you know more about government than I do.’ And no one knew more about government than Pat Moynihan.”William Julius Wilson, the recipient of numerous honors and awards, has written extensively on urban poverty and the plight of the black underclass. He called Moynihan’s report “a prophetic document,” even though its major points had been anticipated in the work of several black social scientists.Why then was the report controversial? One reason was its style, Wilson said. Having no idea that the document would reach beyond the small group of government officials for whom it was intended, Moynihan wrote in bold, direct language calculated to convey the urgency of the problem. Many of the report’s statements about the dissolution of the black family were quoted frequently in the press without the historical context that was an integral part of Moynihan’s argument.“By the time many critics came to read the report, they could not see it with fresh eyes because they had been exposed to the press coverage,” Wilson said.The timing of the report also had a lot to do with its controversial reception. Around the time the report was issued, riots had erupted in black neighborhoods of several cities, and the report was seen as an attempt to blame the violence on shortcomings among blacks rather than on injustices in American society.The report also collided with the growing black power movement, which emphasized “racial pride and black affirmation” and denied the existence of pathology.“Self-destructive behavior was seen as creative and resilient, a way of adapting to a hostile society,” William Julius Wilson said.The movement had the effect of stifling serious studies of urban problems during the 1970s because scholars avoided any study that could be construed as racism or blaming the victim, Wilson added.Beginning in the 1980s, scholars once again began to study problems of the black underclass, and much of that work has been an attempt to enlarge on and refine Moynihan’s insight that the problems of low-income African Americans have cultural and historical roots.“The problem is not simply taking account of culture, but of capturing the complexity and multidimensionality of culture. I think that Daniel Patrick Moynihan was trying to move us in that direction,” Wilson said.ken_gewertz@harvard.edulast_img read more

Martin Truex Jr. fends off Kyle Busch for repeat Sonoma win

first_imgSONOMA, Calif. – Dominant in defense of last year’s victory in the Toyota/Save Mart 350, Martin Truex Jr. held off Kyle Busch, his Joe Gibbs Racing teammate, to win Sunday’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series event at Sonoma Raceway.With three-lap fresher tires after the final set of green-flag pit stops at the 2.52-mile road course — which for the first time since 1997 featured use of the carousel connecting Turns 4 and 7 — Busch closed an 8.269-second gap to slightly more than a second over the last 24 laps.But the driver of the No. 18 Toyota could get no closer, given that Truex’s No. 19 Camry had better drive off the corners at the 12-turn course and was able to keep Busch at bay. Truex led three times for 59 of the 90 laps, including the final 24.RELATED: Official race resultsSHOP: Truex gear“I just dug down deep and tried to be smooth and hit my marks,” said Truex, who won for the fourth time this season — all in the last eight races — the third time at Sonoma (including two straight, and with three different car owners) and the 23rd time in his career. “Luckily I began with a big enough gap where I could get away and not feel too much pressure.“It was definitely a battle going on, as far as the race there at the end for us on tires. It felt terrible the last 20 laps. The last 10 it just felt like it was on ice — just no grip anywhere. I’m really proud of all these guys and everyone on this team and everyone back at JGR.“What a season we’ve turned this into. This is great, man, unbelievable. Hopefully, we can keep it going.”Joe Gibbs Racing has won 10 of the first 16 races this season. Truex, who moved from now-defunct Furniture Row Racing to JGR this year, has now posted at least four victories in four straight seasons, including the current one.And with Matt DiBenedetto running a career-best fourth and Stage 2 winner Denny Hamlin driving from 26th to fifth in the final stage of the race after pitting during the second break, Toyota placed four drivers in the top five. The only interloper was third-place Ryan Blaney in a Team Penske Ford.With four laps left, Busch had trimmed Truex’s advantage to 1.542 seconds, but Truex ultimately expanded the edge to 1.861 seconds at the finish.WATCH: Busch ‘pumped’ with second“Yeah, any time I had to lean on the left rear, I just didn’t have the drive that I needed,” Busch said. “Actually tried to hold on to it, trying to save it. I knew that was going to be our problem — that had been our problem all day long. You get closer, you’re like, ‘OK, I can get him, I better go, pounce on him fast, so then he doesn’t have the time to pick up the pace.’“But it didn’t work. He was obviously saving a lot. I knew he was going to be saving a lot, have enough to be able to most likely hold us off. I was right. I still tried everything I could to get there and ran real hard. … Sucks to finish second to a teammate, but it’s good for the company. Overall Martin is really, really good here. I’m just pumped that I actually ran good here.”Kevin Harvick and Ryan Newman claimed the sixth and seventh spots. Erik Jones, who started from the rear of the field after his team made repairs to the left rear quarter of his car post-qualifying, was eighth in the fourth JGR Toyota.Aric Almirola and polesitter Kyle Larson completed the top 10. The winner of three straight poles at Sonoma, Larson posted his best finish at the road course.The race ran caution-free, except for the two stage breaks. Front-row starter William Byron grabbed the lead from Larson on the first lap and won the stage wire-to-wire, but he lost track position while pitting under caution during the stage break and finished 19th.last_img read more

Top 100 Businesses Prospering in the Inner City

first_imgAddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to FacebookFacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterTwitterShare to EmailEmailEmailShare to RedditRedditRedditShare to MoreAddThisMore AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to FacebookFacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterTwitterShare to EmailEmailEmailShare to RedditRedditRedditShare to MoreAddThisMore The Inner City 100 ranks the fastest-growing inner-city businesses in the U.S., a Who’s Who of companies located in downtrodden urban areas that are prospering, despite the recent recession. The annual roundup is compiled by the Boston-based not-for-profit Initiative for a Competitive Inner City, founded in 1994 by Harvard Business School competitiveness guru Michael Porter. The goal is to show that not only can companies thrive in the inner city, but there are also competitive advantages to locating there. Over the past 12 years, winners have created 71,000 new jobs and employed 40,000 inner-city residents. Porter notes that the Inner City 100 dealt nimbly with the effects of the recession and is prepared for the recovery. That may be why 85 percent of the companies on the list expected revenue to increase in 2009-10, with more than a quarter predicting upwards of 30 percent, about double from the previous year’s expectations. (READ the story in Business Week: Watch videos of CEO profiles and see the Top 100 list there…  last_img read more

University launches Grotto Network to engage millennials

first_imgGrotto Network, Notre Dame’s new media platform encouraging millennials to reinvigorate their faith lives and gain inspiration from others’ stories, launched on Nov. 26.Social media manager and 2014 alumna Emily Mae Mentock said the network’s home base is grottonetwork.com, but the operation also relies heavily on social media to deliver its message and attract an audience.“It’s not another social media platform,” Mentock said. “We’re trying to meet people where they are in their media consumption as well as in their faith.” Mentock said the network aims to produce meaningful content and to encourage sharing of quality content. Director of the Grotto Network Sarah Yaklic said the group hopes to inspire viewers and readers through written and visual content.“I understand how sometimes digital platforms can draw us away from what’s important, but I’ve also seen it affect positive change,” Yaklic said. She said she led the digital outreach for the Pope Francis’s 2015 visit and saw firsthand how digital media can be a means to invite people to and encounter with Jesus.  Mentock said planning the project has taken several years, but only recently have team members been hired.  Although both Mentock and Yaklic came from diocesan work, Mentock said most of the team came from secular career fields and were looking for an opportunity to be a force for good in the world.“One of the great things about having Notre Dame’s support in this project is that they have is resources to hire talented people who are experts in their field,” she said. Yaklic said the success of the first week serves as a testament to the team’s diverse areas of expertise.“We recognize that there are limitations in the digital realm, so we anticipate that Grotto’s outreach will extend to everyday encounters,” she said. “We’re looking to provide a little more hope to the world.”Grotto Network is based out of Corbett Family Hall in the Rex and Alice A. Martin media center. Although it’s being launched and funded by Notre Dame, Grotto Network is not exclusive to the Notre Dame community and hopes to expand to Catholic young adults around the world, Yaklic said. “Being a part of the [Campus Crossroads] experience reinforces the integration of academics, faith and athletics,” Yaklic said. “It shows the University’s desire to tell students we are holistic beings.”“This upcoming semester we’ll be students of our own outreach,” she said. “I’m most excited to learn from students and walk more closely with them on this journey.”Mentock said she and her co-workers emphasize how various components of faith can merge to improve people’s lives.“We want to be a bridge for people to recognize how social justice, well being, and relationships all connect to the Catholic faith,” Mentock said.Yaklic said Grotto Network’s ultimate goal would be to collaborate with other universities and young adult groups. “We hope to use newly established partnerships with parishes, archdiocese and young adult groups across the countries, as well as an enhanced media strategy, to further our mission,” Yaklic said. Tags: Campus Crosswords, force for good, Grotto, grotto network, Pope Francis, social medialast_img read more

Senate backs $9.49 million in new taxes, leaves $575,000 hole

first_imgby Anne Galloway May 2, 2013 vtdigger.org The Vermont Senate has approved a bill that will raise $9.49 million in new taxes.The miscellaneous tax bill, H.528, passed 24-5, in a largely party line vote after four and a half hours of debate. Centrist Democrats and Republicans carried the day; four Republicans and one Democrat/Progressive voted against the bill.The legislation requires Vermonters with adjusted gross incomes of $125,000 per year or more to pay a minimum tax of 3 percent, puts a $12,000 cap on mortgage deductions, extends the sales tax to bottled water and changes the estate tax. It also puts a tax on satellite TV.Amendments that would have eliminated proposed taxes on satellite television bills and bottled water failed. A proposal to link the $12,000 cap on mortgage deductions to the prime lending rate was withdrawn. Another measure that would have changed an estate tax proposal in the bill failed.The Senate passed an amendment that extends a $75,000 tax credit to the wood products industry and approved another measure that continues to allow well-heeled Vermonters to take a $500 tax credit for investing in the Vermont Higher Education Investment Plan. The proposed $150,000 cap would have raised $500,000 in revenues for the state.The upshot? The Senate is $575,000 short of its $10 million revenue goal. Its not clear at this point how that gap will be filled.Meanwhile, a half a million dollars short or not, Gov. Peter Shumlin says the Legislature shouldnt be raising any new broad-based taxes.Gov. Peter Shumlin unveiled his budget on Jan. 24 to the General Assembly. Photo by Roger CrowleyNow is not the time to raise more taxes on hard-working Vermonters, the governor said in a statement. Lawmakers this session have now voted to raise taxes on Vermonters income, clothing, meals, vending machine purchases, water, soft drinks, candy, satellite television and cigarettes. It was hard enough to ask Vermonters to pay more at the pump to maintain our crumbling roads and bridges and safeguard $56 million in federal transportation dollars. I feel strongly that there is no need to raise these additional taxes to close a budget gap of less than 1 percent. Vermonters expect us to control spending by using existing tax dollars more efficiently. We must protect our fragile economic recovery.A philosophical debateThe debate began with a peroration by Sen. Anthony Pollina, and as if on cue, about 500 Vermont Workers Center activists, gathered on the Statehouse lawn. The drumbeats and rallying cry for a peoples budget, seeped into the Green Room as senators embarked on a debate over just how $10 million increases in the budget would be paid for.Sen. Anthony Pollina, D/P-Washington. Photo by Josh LarkinPollina, a Washington County Democrat who also ran on the Progressive ticket, appealed to his colleagues to address the issue of growing income inequality in Vermont. The top 1 percent of Vermonters, he said, have seen their incomes triple over the last 10 years, and the income of residents in the upper middle class (those who make $125,000 or more) have doubled. Meanwhile, the wages of Vermonters who make $50,000 or less have declined or stagnated.He urged senators to raise $21 million in income taxes on the states wealthiest residents in order to set aside money for anticipated federal cuts in fiscal year 2014 and to cover costs associated with proposed weatherization services and support for developmentally disabled Vermonters, among other human services needs.The people who have gained the most are going to be asked to do the least, Pollina said.Pollina said the states growing income disparity is hurting Vermonts economy, and he urged senators to support an increase in the top marginal income tax rate from 8.95 percent to 10.45 percent (which he says is a 1 percent increase in the average effective rate from 6 percent to 7 percent) and an increase in the second highest marginal income tax rate from 8.8 percent to 9.8 percent, with an average effective rate increase of 0.1 percent.When we talk about taxes and the economy we talk about job creators and how we shouldnt do anything to upset them because they are the foundation of the economy, Pollina said. The real job creators are middle class people. For businesses to grow they need customers, they need people to come in and buy their goods.Low-income workers and middle class Vermonters, Pollina said, pay more of a percentage of their income in regressive sales and gross receipts taxes than Vermonts wealthiest residents do. On average, the middle class pays 4 percent to 5 percent; higher income Vermonters pay about 2 percent.When lower and middle incomes go down further, they dont have any money to spend and theyre not generating tax revenue, the senator continued. That is one of the major reasons why the economy is so weak and why the economy is not going to get better.Ironically, it was another Democrat/Progressive, Sen. Tim Ashe, chair of the Senate Finance Committee, who rebuffed Pollinas charge that the tax bill didnt go far enough to raise money to pay for programs.We could raise an additional $21 million, but that doesnt mean we should, Ashe said.The Chittenden County senator defended the process for determining the dollar figure for the revenue bill. The $10 million sum came from a needs estimate developed by Senate Appropriations.Unless and until Senate Appropriations identifies $21 million in new appropriations needs, I would urge the body to reject the [Pollinas] amendment, Ashe said.Ashe has repeatedly said his committee worked to create a fair and equitable tax bill that raised no more and no less than was absolutely needed.Sen. Peter Galbraith said he agreed with Pollinas assessment of the states economic situation, and he suggested that the best way for Vermont to deal with inequality is to close loopholes for wealthy residents. Tax breaks and deductions are the states biggest problem, in his view. (The state gives away more than $1 billion a year in so-called tax expenditures.) This bill makes some effort toward greater fairness, Galbraith said.Pollinas amendment was rejected in a 7-22 vote.Sparks fly over estate tax changeA proposal to make the estate tax more equitable was attacked by Sen. Ann Cummings.The provisions, which are billed as revenue neutral, she said, creates a new gift tax on inheritance gifts to children that she said could make Vermont a less desirable place to retire, and lead to an exodus of wealthy people from the state.Cummings, the former chair of Senate Finance, proposed a study of the estate tax options.Sen. Ann Cummings, D-Washington. Photo by Anne GallowayIn a recess, committee members reviewed the amendment on the floor, and most were leaning toward the study when Galbraith insisted he would vote against the entire bill if the amendment was approved. Ashe acquiesced and said he would vote down the amendment; Sen. Bob Hartwell followed suit.Galbraith explained on the floor that under current law, smaller estates are hit with a 35 percent tax while large estates pay 16 percent. If we dont fix it, families who might have small businesses who die in this year will find themselves facing a tax burden in which there is no fairness, Galbraith said.Cummings amendment passed, 17-12.Sen. John Rodgers, D-Orleans, proposed a swap of the $1.3 million in satellite TV tax revenues and a lower mortgage interest cap ($10,000 instead of $12,000). The amendment failed.Sen. Richie Westman, R-Lamoille, however, scored a major victory. The former tax commissioner gave a discourse on the value of 529 plans, in Vermont known as the Vermont Higher Education Investment Plan, which are designed to encourage Vermonters to save money for their childrens post-secondary education. Senate Finance wanted to eliminate a tax credit worth $500 and generate $500,000 in revenue as a result of capping the income earnings of participants to those who make less than $150,000.The credit is vital, Westman said, to maintain the health of the fund. Without it, there is little incentive for wealthy Vermonters to invest in VHEIP. Management fees for the fund are high by regional standards.last_img read more

One man detained, another injured in shooting at Mission apartment complex

first_imgOne man was detained and another was hospitalized after a shooting Monday afternoon at an apartment complex in north Mission.Mission Police Captain Dan Madden said officers were dispatched at 2:11 p.m. to The Retreat at Mission in the 6200 block of West 51st Street. Officers were told that the two men had a dispute over property in which one man allegedly used a baseball bat to attack the other man, who then allegedly shot him.The victim, who does not have an address at the complex, was transported to a nearby trauma center for treatment of non-life-threatening injuries. The shooting suspect, who may have an address at The Retreat, has been detained for questioning. Madden said the situation remains under investigation while they determine if the shooting suspect was acting in self defense or if he would be charged with aggravated assault.“We’re just going to have to work through it; we have to look at all aspects of it to determine if it was something done in self defense or if it’s something that was avoidable, if reasonable steps were taken to avoid,” Madden said. “We only have 5 percent of the story right now.”Madden said the situation was stabilized right away and no others were hurt in the shooting. However, the shooting allegedly took place with an infant present, which could lead to charges of endangering the welfare of a child and/or a second count of aggravated assault, Madden added. The baby, who is the child of the shooting suspect, is safe with a grandparent.last_img read more

August 1, 2011 Letters

first_imgAugust 1, 2011 Letters Letters Loan Modifications There have been many recent stories in legal papers, the Daily Business Review, and on the news about lawyers taking money to represent people in the process of seeking loan modifications and the client complaints resulting therefrom.I am not specializing in this area, but I do have clients that I have represented in other matters who have come to me regarding this service, and I have tried to assist in short sales, deeds in lieu, and modifications, and I have to say it is almost an impossible task.With one successful modification with Bank of America, the bank came back after the deal was fully executed as if it never happened. I have had Wells Fargo and JP Morgan Chase “lose” submissions on a number of occasions. I have had them not respond for many weeks, only to e-mail and state that they needed additional documentation in 24 or 48 hours or they would close the file. I have had lenders close the file and then want everything resubmitted by fax in order to start over.These are just a few examples of the frustrations in dealing with these situations. It has not happened to me, but I can see that if a lawyer were to see this area of the law as providing an opportunity and naively thought that the lenders who took TARP money would act in good faith, they most likely would end up facing clients’ complaints for “doing nothing,” when, in fact, they have an inordinate amount of time in each file.Each case stands on its own, but when a person says “my attorney did nothing for his or her up-front fee,” don’t be too sure there isn’t much more to the story.Michael J. Ryan North Palm Beach Innocence Commission In response to Mr. Arrojo’s letter in the July 15 News, as a citizen of Florida and a member of The Florida Bar, I greatly appreciate all our ethical prosecutors and law enforcement officers in their pursuit of justice.However, that principled behavior is not the conduct of all law enforcement. If there was a Camelot, there would be no need for discussion related to a codification of the identification process. Mr. Arrojo’s position neglects the fact that the underlying reason for erroneous convictions continues to be that of eyewitness misidentifications. One need only review the evidence established by the Innocence Project to recognize this fact.Though Mr. Arrojo walks the high ground in this matter, there are others in law enforcement who do not care to attain this standard. Whatever the reason may be — lack of education, negligence, trying to close out a case, vindictiveness, statistics, etc. — bad police practices exist, and to say otherwise is, to put it mildly, tunnel vision.I have both prosecuted and defended in Florida for over 30 years. I can fill this page with war stories of disgusting identification proceedings employed by the police. I am sure volumes would not serve to relate what others might contribute. We have all heard the adage about the rotten apple spoiling the rest of the barrel. Sadly, the best of our law enforcement must come to realize that a fix in the overall eyewitness identification process is necessary in order to overcome the negligent and unethical activities of the worst of their associates.Misidentification is a known fact. Poor police work is a known fact. Together they spell danger to each and every Floridian.Craig S. Dyer Chief Assistant Public Defender Daytona Beach Lawyer Behavior Our new president is to be commended for forming a commission to study the Bar’s regulation of lawyer conduct. Mr. Hawkins states that the Bar’s “primary job is to regulate lawyer behavior.”I would add that lawyer discipline is interwoven into other Bar purposes, such as the advancement of lawyer competence through CLE, certification, and the excellent Florida Bar Journal. Another purpose is the taboo subject of lawyer profitability. The new commission should study how lack of prosperity impacts ethics. While there is no excuse for stealing, we should not pretend financial pressure isn’t a problem. Are the number of Florida law schools and the subsidizing of public law schools producing too many lawyers? Is there a better use of tax monies in these tight budgetary times? Finally, if the commission is going to review the ethics of “robosigning” of mortgage foreclosures, to be fair, shouldn’t we also look at unethical foreclosure defenses, such as those set forth in Korte v. US Bank Nat’l Ass’n. (Fla. 4th DCA 2011) and JP Morgan Chase v. Hernandez. (Fla. 3d DCA 2011)?Kerry H. Brown St. Petersburg Confidentiality Rules Our Supreme Court suffers from the same mass hysteria that has affected our society generally. In adopting the recent rules changes (2.425 et al. ), it tries to put out the house fire by hiding the house.Redacting email addresses? Telephone numbers? What is next? Redacting surnames?A Social Security number is merely a way to identify a person, like a name, albeit with more precision. It is only a tool for identity thieves, because banks and others allow it to be used for that purpose.Hiding information that is already in the public domain is not logical and is not a solution.The solution to identity theft is to adopt a statute that places the loss solely on the party that deals with the thief, or who otherwise allows an identity to be used by an unauthorized person, and requires indemnification of the victim.Banks and other institutions will quickly adopt appropriate security measures to prevent identity theft.It is time for our government to adopt a rational approach to this problem.David B. Jones Orlando Casey Anthony Trial Like many, I followed the events in the Casey Anthony trial. But as a lawyer, I was drawn more to the actions, antics, and arguments of the attorneys battling their sides of the case. One moment stands out that compels comment, and yet it occurred almost 24 hours after the verdict was announced, when prosecutor Jeff Ashton appeared on “The Today Show.” During his interview with Matt Lauer, Mr. Ashton responded to a question that I do not now recall with — and I paraphrase — I respect that the jury reached a verdict based on the evidence as they saw it.Watching this seasoned attorney complete his career with a verdict other than the one he fought three years trying to achieve, then to go on national television and so calmly and gracefully make the above comment, had a profound effect on this young attorney. Too many times after a criminal jury trial, we watch as attorneys, media, and the public attack the jurors, discredit their service, and call them names. We find it inconceivable that a group of our peers could reach such decisions based on the laws and evidence. This happens regardless of which side you’re “rooting” for.Mr. Ashton brought back that respect a jury deserves, regardless of the outcome achieved. It is vital to our profession. And I hope the audience appreciated his words. I did.Brian Redar Long Beach, CA Media and Public Frenzy The guilt or innocence of the defendant is, of course, of paramount importance to the defendant and to the alleged victim.Also of paramount importance is the presumption of innocence of the defendant. It is undermined by media and public frenzy made possible because each party in the case takes every opportunity to present or “leak” its side of the case in public before the jury has handed down a verdict! And to present its case in public, whether or not what is presented would be admissible at the trial.Freedom of speech and of the press have become rights without the responsibility to protect the presumption of innocence. How can impartial jurors be found when the details of the case and the defendant and the alleged victim are spread widely by the media?Restrictions on publicity about an on-going criminal case must be put in place to stop criminal cases (and civil cases, as well) from becoming nothing more than publicity circuses. No party to the case should be permitted to discuss the case in public at any time before, during, or even after the trial. The media should only be permitted to report the case after the jury has handed down its verdict. Trials should not be televised so that, among other concerns, the alleged victim need not fear the publicity which television coverage produces. And no more “perp walks”! And no more making defendants wear handcuffs in public!Nor should the trial judge ever be permitted to discuss any aspect of the case, even after the trial has concluded, or how the sentence was determined.Nor should the jurors ever be permitted to discuss the case after the trial.Prosecutors and judges should be appointed in order to insulate them from political motivation and influence and professional ambition.A criminal trial (or a civil trial) should be an effort to find the truth of the matter, rather than a jousting match in which each party attempts through pretrial publicity to win over the media and the public and thus, hopefully, the minds of the prospective jurors.The rush to judgment by the media and the public about the defendant before the jury decides the case threatens the integrity and fairness of the justice system.Stephen Schoeman Westfied, NJ Diversity I had to re-read the above-the-fold article in the June 15 News : “Voluntary associations use Bar grants to promote diversity at the local level.” The first paragraph says: “[w]hile the legal community in Miami-Dade County is likely the most diverse in the state, it can — at times — seem quite segregated as there are so many specialty bar options catering to different racial, gender, and practice age groups.” The irony was just too great to pass up comment. All of the separate bar associations (made up exclusively of lawyers) are joining together to launch a Diversity Inclusion and Consortium Project. In the spirit of Brown v. Board of Education, 387 U.S. 483 (1954), I would like to suggest an alternative: Shutter the doors of all these diversity groups made up of segregated lawyers and everyone join the Dade County Bar Association. What a simple way to end the segregation of Dade County’s legal community. After all, we all practice before the same judges. We all pick our juries from the same venire. The last wills I drafted were for a Puerto Rican couple (man and woman). The last power of attorney — a Hispanic. I sue Jews. I defend Muslims. Earlier today, I drafted a motion to dismiss for an albino — apparently a group so small there is no association in Dade County to look out for his unique interests.I call on the presidents of the Miami-Dade Chapter of the Florida Association for Women Lawyers, the Cuban American Bar Association, the Puerto Rican Bar Association, the Gwen S. Cherry Black Women Lawyers Bar Association, the Wilkie D. Ferguson Bar Association, and the Muslim Bar Association, together with other segregated bar associations not mentioned in the article, to disband. Everyone can then meet at the DCBA like one big happy family.One more suggestion — set up the tables in one big circle. That way, no-one will feel slighted if asked to sit on the back row.Evan B. Plotka Hollywood August 1, 2011 Letterslast_img read more

Conflict attorney pay in dispute

first_img December 15, 2012 Gary Blankenship Senior Editor Regular News Conflict attorney pay in dispute Senior EditorA new law that limited payment for private conflict attorneys in criminal cases has resulted in several legal challenges to the law around the state, amid claims it all but guarantees ineffective assistance of counsel.The same law has also caused concern among court officials because it mandates that if court-approved payments above the minimum fees exceed $3 million, then those payments must come from trial court due process funds.“I really believe that it sets up ineffective assistance of counsel on its face,” said Derek Byrd, president of the Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, which has been involved in the challenges to the law. “You’re willfully setting up a system that woefully underpays the attorney and encourages him not to do the work.”The changes came in last-minute amendments to SB 1960 and amended F. S. §27.5304.The law already had circuits setting up a registry of private attorneys to accept appointments to criminal cases when the public defender and regional conflict counsel had conflicts. But attorneys in that registry could petition for extraordinary fees above the flat fees specified in the statute.The revised law allows circuits to set up a second registry of conflict attorneys for most first, second, and third degree felonies with the same fixed fees. However, unlike the older “general” registry, lawyers in the new “limited” registry have to pledge not to seek higher fees, no matter how difficult or long the case.The law allowed the general registry to continue, but requires judges in counties that have the newer limited registry to pick attorneys from that list before turning to the older list. However, capital and RICO cases will still use attorneys from the older list, and those attorneys are allowed to petition the court for higher fees in extraordinary cases.The Legislature, unhappy with the costs of those excessive fees, mandated in the bill that the state pay the first $3 million of those fees, and any amount over that would have to come from trial court budgets. At the start of the budget year, it was estimated that shortfall would be around $3 million. Some circuits are reporting — with less than half of the budget year completed — that they are close to or over the limit for paying excessive fees.Virtually all of the excessive fees are in RICO and capital cases.Byrd said the registry fees are too low and completely unrealistic.According to the Justice Administrative Commission (JAC), which oversees payment of private conflict attorneys, the fees are $750 for a third degree felony, $1,000 for a second degree felony, and $2,500 for a first degree felony carrying a life sentence or a nondeath penalty capital case. Felonies that carry up to a life sentence get $2,000, as do capital sexual battery cases. Death penalty cases are $15,000 each for the lead attorney and co-counsel. RICO and death penalty cases are handled under the old registry, which allow attorneys to apply for extraordinary fees.FACDL, Byrd said, doesn’t like taking excess fees for RICO and capital cases from the courts’ operating budget. That system sets up a conflict of interest for judges considering such fee requests.“They’ve created an incentive for the court to appoint a potentially ineffective counsel at the outset, or the courts risk losing some of their own money,” he said. “The court has an incentive not to award any unusual fees.”“Those fees are shockingly low,” said Jude Faccidomo, president of the Miami FACDL branch who has worked on some of the legal challenges. “There are all sorts of issues on whether you can actually provide effective assistance of counsel.”He noted payment for a nondeath penalty first degree murder case, which could result in a multi-week, multi-defendant trial, is all of $2,500. Faccidomo said he knew one lawyer who took a felony case who calculated her flat fee to be a bit over $3 an hour — less than half of minimum wage.Like Bryd, Faccidomo said the Legislature created an intolerable situation by requiring judges to find money from the court budgets once extraordinary payments reach $3 million.“The court is being asked, ‘Should I pay my interpreters. . . or should I pay the lawyer so that they [defendants] actually get representation?’” he said. “It’s a lose-lose situation. There’s no real answer. The Legislature has given the judiciary the job of balancing the budget.”State Courts Administrator Lisa Goodner said the Trial Court Budget Commission has held funds in reserve to help pay the extraordinary fees once the $3 million appropriation is exhausted. However, “We are concerned that they are not sufficient to cover these costs, which could cause further disruption in the circuits’ operating budgets,” she said.Both Byrd and Faccidomo questioned the propriety of not informing defendants of the small fee being paid to their lawyers — especially when co-defendants are represented by public defenders and regional conflict counsel who may have tight budgets but still have fewer restrictions than the private registry attorneys.In a noncapital first degree murder case, “The defendants are not really being told,” Faccidomo said. “The judge does not say, ‘By the way, your lawyer is being paid $2,500. Good luck to you, sir.’”“It really, truly impacts a lot of criminal defendants,” Byrd said. “It’s a tough economic market out there, and there are a lot of lawyers who may not have a choice. They’ve got to pay the bills.”He added: “There are opinions that this gives rise to ineffective assistance of counsel prospectively, because the system as a whole creates the atmosphere for ineffective assistance of counsel.”Faccidomo predicted the new law will cost the state more due to a flood of ineffective assistance of counsel claims.Goodner said her office has been charged to report to the Legislature by January 15 on the reasonableness of fees paid to conflict counsel under F.S. §27.5304. “The report is still in development,” she said.There are thousands of cases affected by the fee dispute.According to Cris Martinez, general counsel of the JAC, in the 2011-12 fiscal year JAC paid 27,546 invoices to private conflict attorneys, and a total of 27,998 invoices were filed.Martinez said a couple months were needed to set up the new, limited registries. She said claims have been paid, although it was uncertain how many had been made.In 1986, Martinez noted, the Florida Supreme Court in Makemson v. Martin County, 491 So. 2d 1109, held that in extraordinary circumstances court-appointed attorneys could apply to the judge and be granted higher fees than set in state law. Because that remains guiding law, JAC is including in the contracts for attorneys in the limited registry that under Makemson they can petition the trial judge for higher fees.There is the risk that the trial judge will deny the claim, noting the new law, Martinez said.So far, the JAC has not learned of any attorneys from the limited registry who have completed cases and filed for higher fees, she said.The new registry system has attracted its share of litigation. According to the JAC, 27 legal challenges have been filed around the state attacking the statute on various legal grounds.Most of those cases, according to Martinez, are constitutional challenges brought by privately appointed attorneys. These include requests for the judge to recuse himself or herself because of a potential conflict of interest; assertion the law provides ineffective assistance of counsel; claims that SB 1960 enacting the new registry violated the single- subject requirement for legislative bills; and other constitutional challenges.Another legal action challenges the administrative order in the 11th Circuit creating the new, limited fee registry, and another action in that circuit seeks a declaratory judgment finding the law unconstitutional.Finally, identical actions were filed in the Third and Fourth district courts of appeal seeking writs of certiorari, quo warranto, and prohibition challenging the law and administrative orders implementing it in the 11th and 17th circuits. The Fourth DCA has dismissed the action on the merits, without an opinion, while it remains pending in the Third DCA.Challenges to the 11th Circuit administrative order and the declaratory action are still pending, as are challenges in other cases, but there have been several rulings in which all but one have upheld the law or denied the challenges.The exception came in a case pending before 11th Circuit Judge Victoria Sigler. An attorney appointed to represent a death penalty defendant challenged the new registry law on constitutional grounds. In an October 24 ruling, Judge Sigler agreed that the law violated the constitution’s single-subject requirement and the separation of powers, because, in effect, it transferred legislative budgeting authority to the courts when lawmakers required the judicial system to find money to pay excess costs in capital cases over the $3 million limit.Judge Sigler declined to address whether the law was unconstitutional because in some cases it could decline fair remuneration for defense attorneys, but said that issue should be decided in a declaratory action filed in the Second Judicial Circuit. She also denied that it created a conflict of interest for judges, because the funds for extraordinary fees could come out of their budgets. She noted the 11th Circuit has not reached that point, although the judge noted, “This issue might be ripe for consideration at a later date.”As of Bar News deadline, the state had not appealed Sigler’s ruling.However, in the 20th Circuit, Judge Bruce Kyle agreed with the arguments of the JAC, including that the law did not violate the single-subject provision and that the subject was not ripe since the case was not over and the appointed lawyer had not sought payment. Kyle also found that there was no conflict of interest for judges, because the Office of the State Courts Administrator and the Trial Court Budget Commission have created a separate fund for the trial court budgets to pay excess fees when the $3 million of state funds is expended.One challenge grew from the notification to lawyers in the Fourth Circuit that requests for initial fees would not likely be approved for the remainder of this fiscal year. Any that were awarded would be “extremely conservative.”An October 12 memo to registry attorneys from court counsel Caroline C. Emery, on behalf of Fourth Circuit Chief Judge Donald Moran, warned the circuit had almost depleted its state budget for excess fees and soon would turn to court funds.“Therefore, please be on notice that, because the Chief Judge has no choice but to protect the best interests of this circuit at all costs to run an effective, functional administration of justice, he is forced to deny almost all motions for excess fees effective today,” Emery wrote. “If any motions are granted, the awards will have to be extremely conservative. Evidently, based on the attached report, this is not an unreasonable position, and will actually be in line with practically all of the other circuits’ current awards.”Two attorneys appointed in a murder case filed a petition for Moran to recuse himself from their case, saying he had a conflict of interest and that the law improperly allows the judge to appropriate funds for county-appointed attorneys.Moran, in a two-line order, denied the recusal motion, and denied a separate motion to find the new registry law unconstitutional.In another case from the Fifth Circuit, Judge Sandra Edwards-Stephens denied a motion on behalf of the defendant challenging the registry law. Edwards-Stephens — as did Kyle in the 20th Circuit — said the defendant lacked standing. She found, among other things, that the “defendant has no direct and articulable stake in the outcome of whether Fla. Stat. 27.5304 is determined to be unconstitutional.. . . It is the attorney who would seek compensation, not the defendant.”According to JAC figures, most circuits now have both general and limited registries for the conflict cases. The Third and 13th circuits have not set up limited registries, while the Fourth, Seventh, and Ninth circuits no longer have the general registry. Conflict attorney pay in disputelast_img read more

Is the construction of the Peljesac Bridge moving from a standstill?

first_imgBiH Transport and Communications Minister Ismir Jusko said on Saturday that he expects the BiH Council of Ministers, of which he is a member, to make a decision soon approving the construction of the Peljesac Bridge, stressing that there is no dispute over the dimensions of the bridge. tportal.hr.  “The expert team from BiH negotiated and worked on the Pelješac bridge with colleagues from Croatia. Colleagues from Croatia said that the bridge should be 48 meters high, and our delegation asked for it to be 55 meters, which was adopted. Also, the representatives of Croatia requested that the distance between the central pillars on the bridge be 200 meters, and 280 meters were adopted, as proposed by our delegation. ” Minister Jusko pointed out for the internet portal Klix from Sarajevo and added that the document was signed by both delegations and that now there are no more obstacles to approving the construction of the Peljesac Bridge. 12 applications were received for the tender for the construction of the Pelješac BridgeFormer Croatian Minister of Regional Development and EU Funds and now Agriculture Tomislav Tolusic previously announced that a contract for the Peljesac Bridge could be signed in the spring and that all problems related to construction have been resolved with BiH. In the first round of tenders for the construction of the Pelješac Bridge, Hrvatske ceste received 12 applications for participation, and in accordance with the Public Procurement Act, information on potential tenderers in this restricted public procurement procedure is secret, so Hrvatske ceste cannot speak about the names of companies submitted applications for the Pelješac Bridge.According to the optimistic scenario, at the end of January 2017, competitors who do not meet the conditions of technical, legal and financial ability will be sent notices to enter the second round, and those who meet these conditions will be invited to submit financial bids. But those who do not enter the second round have the right to appeal, so it is difficult to predict when the second round could begin and when it could be completed. And that the tender deadlines for the Pelješac Bridge are easily broken, is evidenced by the course of events in the first round of the tender, which was originally supposed to end on August 22. However, due to three appeals to the State Commission for the Control of Public Procurement Procedures against the tender documentation, the entire procedure was delayed by more than three and a half months.The estimated value of the works for the construction of the Peljesac Bridge and access roads is HRK 1,756 billion, and the number of applications confirmed the expectations of great interest of domestic and foreign construction companies for this project, which this time seems to be better prepared than in 2007. the first tender for the construction of that bridge was announced. Only three bids were received for the tender, the estimated value of the works was 1,9 billion kuna, but the contract with domestic companies was eventually terminated due to lack of money. This time most of the money for the construction of the bridge will be provided from EU funds.Pelješac Bridge Association: Croatian interests are endangered, there is no more waitingThe Pelješac Bridge Association notes that Croatian national interests are endangered, primarily the free flow of people and goods within the EU, because Dubrovnik is still separated from the rest of Croatia and represents the extraterritorial territory of the EU.Back in 2012, hundreds of ships and boats lined the sea (between the mainland near Komarna and the Pelješac peninsula near Brijesta) with the desire, need, decision of the people to continue building the bridge. Road accesses and huge abutment pillars on both shores were completed and works for the foundation of pillars on the seabed began, and then at the beginning of 2012 everything was stopped.The agony around the bridge that would connect Croatia and which is a salvation for the inhabitants of Peljesac as well as all other cities and municipalities to Dubrovnik, unfortunately, continues. According to the project, the bridge is 2.340 meters long and 55 meters above sea level, while the width of the bridge is 24,64 meters, it has four lanes, and is a continuation of the highway. The distance between the pylons is 568 meters, and thus the bridge would carry the title of second in Europe and among the top 10 in the world.last_img read more

Dietary trans fat linked to worse memory

first_imgEmail Share Share on Twitter Pinterest Higher consumption of dietary trans fatty acids (dTFA), commonly used in processed foods to improve taste, texture and durability, has been linked to worsened memory function in men 45 years old and younger, according to a University of California, San Diego School of Medicine study published online on June 17 in PLOS ONE.Researchers evaluated data from 1,018 men and women who were asked to complete a dietary survey and memory test involving word recall. On average, men aged 45 and younger recalled 86 words; however, for each additional gram of trans fats consumed daily, performance dropped by 0.76 words. This translates to an expected 12 fewer words recalled by young men with dTFA intake levels matching the highest observed in the study, compared to otherwise similar men consuming no trans fats.“Trans fats were most strongly linked to worse memory in men during their high productivity years,” said Beatrice A. Golomb, MD, PhD, lead author and professor of medicine at UC San Diego School of Medicine. “Trans fat consumption has previously shown adverse associations to behavior and mood–other pillars of brain function. However, to our knowledge a relation to memory or cognition had not been shown.”center_img LinkedIn After adjusting for age, exercise, education, ethnicity and mood, the link between higher dTFA and poorer memory was maintained in men 45 and younger.The study focused predominantly on men because of a small number of women in this age group. However, including women in the analysis did not change the finding, said Golomb. An association of dTFA to word memory was not observed in older populations. Golomb said this is likely due to dietary effects showing more clearly in younger adults. Insults and injuries to the brain accrue with age and add variability to memory scores that can swamp ability to detect diet effects.Trans fatty acids have been linked to negative effects on lipid profiles, metabolic function, insulin resistance, inflammation and cardiac and general health. In 2013, the United States Food and Drug Administration issued a preliminary determination that trans fats were no longer generally recognized as safe. According to the Centers for Disease Control, reducing dTFA consumption could prevent 10,000 to 20,000 heart attacks and 3,000 to 7,000 coronary heart disease deaths per year in the U.S.“As I tell patients, while trans fats increase the shelf life of foods, they reduce the shelf life of people,” said Golomb. Share on Facebooklast_img read more