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NATURAL JUSTICE: New Article on Ostrom's Impact on American Legal Academy

NATURAL JUSTICE: New Article on Ostrom's Impact on American Legal Academy | Criminology and Economic Theory | Scoop.it
Little work has been done to adapt Ostrom's work to social institutions or criminal law. I am working to address how social norms form in the shadow of the law and I, like Ostrom, call for more room between the market and government institutions to enable new social experimentation without the unintended negative consequences common with prohibitive models of social control.
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Criminology and Economic Theory
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Force putting 'more police on streets' to tackle town's knife crime

Force putting 'more police on streets' to tackle town's knife crime | Criminology and Economic Theory | Scoop.it
POLICE have vowed to crack down on knife crime after a series of incidents in St Helens.
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Drinking While Jurying

Drinking While Jurying | Criminology and Economic Theory | Scoop.it
What happens when juries decide to tie one on.
Rob Duke's insight:
LOL: they'd drink in France....
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Los Angeles County Undersheriff Paul Tanaka and Other LASD Officials Allegedly Wrongly-Convicted

Los Angeles County Undersheriff Paul Tanaka and Other LASD Officials Allegedly Wrongly-Convicted | Criminology and Economic Theory | Scoop.it
Baca became aware of the cell phone, not from the FBI, but through a random search of the property of inmate Brown. Baca, who had a lawful obligation and responsibility for the safety of his officers, directly ordered Captain Carey and Lt. Leavins to investigate how Brown obtained the cell phone and who smuggled it into the jail. It was determined through the LASD investigation that the cell phone was linked to the Department of Justice Civil Rights Division. The FBI contacted Baca and confirmed that the phone was FBI property and asked for its return but refused to provide any details about how Brown could have gotten the phone. With no answers to his questions, Baca told the FBI he would keep the phone until LASD investigators determined how Brown acquired it. Baca's investigators interrogated Brown and found that the cell phone was smuggled into the jail after Brown, who was working with the FBI to gather pictures of alleged beatings and induce/entrap deputies into smuggling contraband, bribed Deputy Gilbert Michel to get the phone from an FBI agent who was posing as his friend. LASD sergeants Long and Craig ultimately went to the home of the FBI agent who orchestrated smuggling the phone into the jail and told her they were seeking a warrant for her arrest. Shortly after Baca's public criticism and threat to arrest an FBI agent, the Los Angeles U.S. Attorney's Office filed conspiracy and obstruction of justice charges against Baca and all LASD subordinates who followed Baca's orders to conduct a legitimate and lawful internal investigation, including Undersheriff Paul Tanaka, who, according to Baca, was not involved in the internal investigation.
Rob Duke's insight:
Which side committed White Collar Crime?

Did Sheriff Baca have a right to investigate a crime committed in his jail--even though it was the FBI that perpetrated the crime?  Apparently not.
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Religious Tobacco Protection in Prisons Uncertain

Religious Tobacco Protection in Prisons Uncertain | Criminology and Economic Theory | Scoop.it
A California appeals court dealt a blow Thursday to a Native American prison inmate who petitioned for the right to use pure tobacco during religious ceremonies.
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Crooked Vegas GI Doc Dies in Prison: Should We Care?

Crooked Vegas GI Doc Dies in Prison: Should We Care? | Criminology and Economic Theory | Scoop.it
Dr. Dipak Desai infected dozens with hepatitis C causing 2 deaths. How could this have happened and where were his staff? Incident report LIVE with ZDoggMD.
Rob Duke's insight:
Interesting White Collar Crime example.  Doctors make mistakes.  It happens, but what do we do when doctors are negligent?  How about unnecessary surgeries?

See this vid on a particular doc in Vegas who fits this first example.  Keep in mind, docs and pharmacists admit (through their medical associations) that they kill over 100,000 people a year (120k just for docs; another 90k for pharmacists; and maybe as high as 210k per year combined, see citation):

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The rise of intolerance: Indonesia has been mercifully resistant to extremism—until now | The Economist

The rise of intolerance: Indonesia has been mercifully resistant to extremism—until now | The Economist | Criminology and Economic Theory | Scoop.it

FIRST came the fake news: a doctored video, making it look as if the governor of Jakarta, an ethnic-Chinese Christian, was disparaging the Koran. Next, mass protests flooding the city centre with outraged Muslims. Then came blasphemy charges that the police, under public pressure, eventually lodged against Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, usually known as Ahok. Before long a seemingly pedestrian election became a referendum on the role of Islam in Indonesian politics. Was it permissible for a Christian to hold the second-most prominent elected office in an overwhelmingly Muslim country?

It is easy to forget, but Indonesia, not Egypt or Iran, much less Saudi Arabia, is the world’s most populous Muslim country. There are far more Muslims in South and South-East Asia than there are in the Middle East. And Muslims in Asia are traditionally much less doctrinaire than Middle Easterners.

Indonesia is a case in point: many local Muslims follow practices that would cause riots in Arabia, making offerings to saints and spirits, say, or worshipping at shrines shared with Hindus and Buddhists. Indonesia’s biggest Islamic organisation is Nahdlatul Ulama (NU), which embraces folksy forms of Islam and explicitly campaigns against extremism. Its wisecracking former leader, Abdurrahman Wahid, was the first president to be elected—albeit by parliament, not by popular vote—after the overthrow of Suharto, Indonesia’s dictator of 32 years. The next president was Megawati Sukarnoputri, a woman. No avowedly religious party has ever received more than 8% of the vote in parliamentary elections.

The call from Arabia

And yet for decades less tolerant forms of Islam have been seeping into the country. In fact, NU was founded in 1926 to resist the growing influence of puritanical Arabian preachers. To this day Gulf Arabs fund lots of mosques. Rabble-rousers are able to turn out big crowds to protest against perceived insults to Islam. The agitators portray traditional Indonesian Islam as rural and backward, implying that educated city-dwellers should follow a purer form of the religion. Politicians, even otherwise reasonable ones like Mr Baswedan, seldom resist the urge to cloak themselves in piety.

Joko Widodo, Indonesia’s president and Ahok’s predecessor as Jakarta’s governor, supported his embattled protégé in the election. But he was careful to be respectful of the protesters, meeting their leaders and offering only veiled criticism of their conduct. Local mores, it is often said, demand such reticence. But the other side felt no such obligation, brandishing signs with slogans like “Burn Christians, Jail Ahok”.

The governor’s race has given unscrupulous politicians a simple blueprint for winning office: stir up religious fervour by decrying real or invented insults to Islam. The opposition is likely to resort to such tactics in the next presidential election, due in 2019. If Mr Joko wants to keep his job, and preserve Indonesia’s plural society, he needs to speak out forcefully against zealotry, not treat it with kid gloves.

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malek's comment, April 23, 10:10 AM
"Idealism is fine, but as it approaches reality, the costs become prohibitive." Buckley
john's comment, April 23, 11:06 PM
This is some heavy competition! The governor of Jakarta seems to be against the media and his rivalry for the next 2019 election. The media portrayed him to be disrespecting the Quran in a populated muslim country. This would count as a hudud crime (crime against god and can be punished by death in Saudi Arabia).The Quran holds religious versus that is a way of life for many muslim people. The article went on that the rivalry candidate is muslim himself and is operating his campaign on behalf of muslim beleivers in order to gain momentum. When you look at other religions in Jakarta and Indonesia they are the minority in this case. I am interested if the current governor can hold his position for reelection.
malek's comment, Today, 1:26 PM
let's see what will be the outcome of this election
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This wasn't the first act of 'river piracy' to affect the Yukon's biggest lake - and it might not be the last

This wasn't the first act of 'river piracy' to affect the Yukon's biggest lake - and it might not be the last | Criminology and Economic Theory | Scoop.it
Shugar, Clague and five other scientists received international press coverage in the past week for a paper on "river piracy," the diversion of the headwaters from one stream to another. They attributed the glacial retreat and the Yukon act of piracy to climate change.
Rob Duke's insight:
Can we really define the collective action of billions of people that have cause "global warming" as some sort of "piracy" when it results in an entire river drainage basin shifting away?
It's an interesting analogy, but does it hold up?
Maybe these authors were engaging in hyperbole?
It's made me think, I hope it does the same for you.
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Report: Young Adults Drawn to Life of Cyber Crime

Report: Young Adults Drawn to Life of Cyber Crime | Criminology and Economic Theory | Scoop.it
By hacking into computer systems, they're hoping to achieve recognition from their online peers.
Rob Duke's insight:
So, Differential Association is driving cyber-crime?

See also Thorstein Veblen's ideas about how economic (even criminal) activity is driven by a desire to display metaphorical "scalps" from our belts.  No matter what culture, we always have ways of displaying wealth and accomplishments.

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The Shocking Lack of Science Behind Lethal Injections

The Shocking Lack of Science Behind Lethal Injections | Criminology and Economic Theory | Scoop.it
No one knows if lethal injection really is more humane than other execution methods. And they can't really find out.
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john's comment, Today, 12:43 AM
I think we should continue research and test these injections before using them on people. It is the right thing to be efficient and effective when using them on people. The article states that Europe had prohibited drugs in their executions lowering the demand in the market. This has lead our system to scrabble other means in the drug execution system as we "trial" what works precisely. The article also states that the American Medical Association prohibits their members to collaborate or come up with solutions with states who are pursuing the lethal injection method. Maybe there can be some form of agreement with these medical societies in these situations? Our system will continue to use all means with the execution of inmates on death row.
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Torching the Modern-Day Library of Alexandria

“If you have a kind of an institutional problem,” said Jeff Cunard, a partner at Debevoise & Plimpton who represented the publishers in the case, “you can address the issue through a class-action settlement mechanism, which releases all past claims and develops a solution on a going-forward basis. And I think the genius here was of those who saw this as a way of addressing the problem of out-of-print books and liberating them from the dusty corners to which they’d been consigned.”
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35 Years Of American Death

35 Years Of American Death | Criminology and Economic Theory | Scoop.it
Our maps show estimated mortality rates for leading causes of death for every county in the U.S. going back to 1980.
Rob Duke's insight:
Interactive map.  Better in most diseases, but worse off with addictions and mental health.....
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Courts Are Using AI to Sentence Criminals. That Must Stop Now

Courts Are Using AI to Sentence Criminals. That Must Stop Now | Criminology and Economic Theory | Scoop.it
Opinion: Courts should pause the use of algorithms for criminal sentencing.
Rob Duke's insight:
This is the holy grail for the courts: flexible sentencing without the responsibility or political fall out when someone who is let out re-offends--often in a spectacular way.
With AI, you can just blame the programming.
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French police officer, gunman killed on Champs-Elysees

French police officer, gunman killed on Champs-Elysees | Criminology and Economic Theory | Scoop.it
One police officer and an attacker were killed in a Thursday night shooting on the Champs-Elysees in Paris, the French Interior Ministry said.

A car stopped at 102 Champs-Elysees in front of a police van, ministry spokesman Pierre Henry Brandet said. A man emerged from the car and opened fire on the van with an "automatic weapon," he said. The police returned fire and killed the attacker.
The ministry said one police officer was killed. It's not known if the attacker was a man or a woman.

Police officers block the access to the Champs-Elysees in Paris.
French anti-terror prosecutors and the National Intelligence Service are opening an investigation to determine the nature of the incident, the Paris Prosecutor's Office said in a text to CNN. This means they are looking at terror as a possible motive in the attack.
CNN affiliate BFMTV is reporting that Paris anti-terror forces are heading the investigation, but Police Secretary Yvan Assioma told reporters there were "no theories" about whether this was a criminal act or an act of terror.
BFMTV also reported an unidentified man was hit by "cross-fire" in the Champs-Elysees area. BFMTV has not specified if the unidentified man was the attacker or a bystander.
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Defining Moment: Will California End Its Money Bail System? – Capital & Main

Defining Moment: Will California End Its Money Bail System? – Capital & Main | Criminology and Economic Theory | Scoop.it
A nationwide movement that began 53 years ago to reform the pretrial incarceration and money bail process has finally reached the legislative committees and political bargaining tables in Washington and Sacramento. Reform advocates – including legislators, prosecutors, attorneys, judges and grassroots organizations – contend that the use of a money bail system for pretrial release is unfair to the poor and unsafe for the public.
In 1964, then-U.S. Attorney General Robert Kennedy told the Senate: “Every year in this country, thousands of persons are kept in jail for weeks and even months following arrest. They are not yet proven guilty. They may be no more likely to flee than you or I. But nonetheless, most of them must stay in jail because to be blunt, they cannot afford to pay for their freedom.”
Kennedy’s efforts helped pass the Criminal Justice Act of 1964 and the Bail Reform Act of 1966, which created a presumption of release before trial for most federal defendants, and mostly did away with the money bail system in federal proceedings. But not for local and state jurisdictions, which account for most of the country’s jail population and in which the money-bail system still controls the release of defendants, dangerous or not. Only two countries, the U.S. and the Philippines, currently use the money bail system, according to California legislators.
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How MS-13, One of America’s Most Dangerous Gangs, is Funded

How MS-13, One of America’s Most Dangerous Gangs, is Funded | Criminology and Economic Theory | Scoop.it
President Donald Trump is ready to crack down on the infamous, money-making MS-13 gang, after a violent quadruple homicide in Long Island, N.Y. last week left four teenagers dead and badly beaten. Trump is promising to remove the gang from U.S. streets “fast.”
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Arkansas execution flurry marks early test for new Justice Gorsuch

Arkansas execution flurry marks early test for new Justice Gorsuch | Criminology and Economic Theory | Scoop.it
Newly appointed conservative U.S. Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch helped clear the way for Arkansas to hold its first execution in 12 years, a sign of the challenges facing other inmates seeking to block their executions next week.
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Did California prison reform lead to an increase in crime?

Did California prison reform lead to an increase in crime? | Criminology and Economic Theory | Scoop.it
More than a dozen states are considering prison reform measures to drastically reduce their inmate populations to save money. But law enforcement in California are blaming their reforms for a recent uptick in crime.
Rob Duke's insight:
Based upon what I've seen in California, there's two problems with opening the prison gates:
1. California had an underground economy that was run by organized gangs (often with violent competitor gangs);
2. There was no way to deal with the organized criminals, as opposed to those who were first/second time offenders--everyone got lumped into the same basket.
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Nabbing imaginary terrorists: A new bill reveals the Japanese government’s authoritarian streak | The Economist

Nabbing imaginary terrorists: A new bill reveals the Japanese government’s authoritarian streak | The Economist | Criminology and Economic Theory | Scoop.it

FOR several weeks Japan’s Diet has been debating a law that would punish people who plan to commit crimes. The government says the conspiracy bill will protect the nation from terrorism. In a country where crime has fallen to a record low (a single fatal shooting was recorded for the whole of 2015) and where the last big terrorist attack was more than 20 years ago, that justification sounds feeble to many.

Japan’s federation of bar associations questions whether the police need more powers. It says they can use existing laws to pursue criminal conspiracies. Critics of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) suspect ulterior motives. “The need for a new law is very small but the dangers of having the law are enormous,” says Takeshi Shina of the Democratic Party, the main opposition. Passage of the bill, he argues, will lead to an erosion of personal liberty: “The government is far more passionate about the freedom of the state to act than about protecting the constitutional rights of the individual.”

To be fair, the LDP, which has dominated Japanese politics for 60 years, has never hidden its authoritarian streak. It wants to do away with the liberal constitution imposed by Japan’s American occupiers in 1947. It dislikes the way the document renounces war, diminishes the status of the emperor and makes ringing declarations about the inviolability of fundamental human rights.

A draft of an alternative constitution endorsed by the LDP tosses out these ideas and replaces them with duties to the state. The national anthem and flag must be respected. Rights come with “responsibilities and obligations” and citizens “must comply with the public interest and public order”. Freedom of speech can be restricted if it impedes that. Most alarmingly, says Lawrence Repeta of Meiji University, the prime minister would be empowered to declare a national emergency under “an extremely broad and undefined range of potential circumstances”. Mr Repeta considers the document a blueprint for the abolition of Japan’s liberal democracy.

Privately, some LDP politicians accept that the draft, written by hardliners while the party was briefly in the political wilderness, goes too far. “Nobody takes it seriously,” says Tsuneo Watanabe of the Sasakawa Peace Foundation, a think-tank. If the party really intended to sell the draft to voters, he says, it would have produced a more appealing document. The LDP’s tilt rightwards since returning to power in 2012, however, suggests that the draft increasingly influences public policy.

Last year a UN special rapporteur criticised the government of Shinzo Abe for trying to intimidate the media by making a pointed reference to its power to shut down “biased” television channels under the law that regulates broadcasting. In 2013 the LDP pushed through a law that allows the government to declare all kinds of information state secrets, in spite of strong public opposition and noisy protests by journalists, lawyers and scholars. In theory, the law will help deepen co-operation on security between Japan and America, which had complained about a series of leaks of sensitive information. In practice, it has raised fears that seeking or revealing data about perfectly legitimate subjects, such as the extent of contamination from the Fukushima nuclear disaster, could be construed as criminal activity.

Few in the LDP want to return to the past, insists Yoshimasa Hayashi, an LDP MP, although he does concede that some want to tug it “too far right.” Still, he supports the conspiracy law, which he says will help keep the Tokyo Olympics in 2020 safe. The LDP’s dominance of both chambers of the Diet means the law will probably pass without trouble. It is the lack of a strong opposition that should most worry ordinary Japanese, says Mr Shina. The LDP may not be too worried about constraints on the power of the state, but in a healthy democracy, someone should be.

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The Golden State Killer

The Golden State Killer | Criminology and Economic Theory | Scoop.it
True-crime writer Michelle McNamara was obsessed with finding the man who terrorized California for a decade – until her own death last year; husband Patton Oswalt reveals the driving force behind her mission to unmask a killer
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Dispatchers calling for a change in job classification

Dispatchers calling for a change in job classification | Criminology and Economic Theory | Scoop.it
https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/9-1-1-professionals-should-be-recognized-protecting-and-saving-lives?platform=hootsuite
Rob Duke's insight:
I'd agree.  Dispatchers are much more than clerical workers.  It's a profession and a calling.  In my experience it takes training, plus about 2 years of hands on training to become proficient.  By proficient, I mean that you need to balance 5 tasks at a time (listening to radio & phones, while running plates, watching status boards, organizing data for half a dozen units on 3-5 different calls, be on another line calling tow trucks or parents, or other agencies, etc.); be able to listen to multiple radio frequencies and the phone; be able to visualize the 3D space of your entire jurisdiction so that you know where every unit is placed and be able to project where the suspect might be headed--and by which route, alley, across yards, etc.
You must be cool-headed, be good at verbal-judo, be excellent at giving verbal directions, know how to complete first aid, cpr, and deliver a baby--and be able to coach someone through these tasks.  Be able to take control of a situation with just your voice.  Be empathetic when the worst is happening in people's lives.  Be brave.  Be able to handle the worst emotions while remaining kind to each other.  Be supportive of patrol & detectives when they forget that you're a big part of the success of the agency.  Be calm when patrol forgets that you need to eat & take bathroom breaks.
It's a VERY demanding responsibility and not for the faint of heart.
See the article and consider signing the petition.
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john's comment, April 23, 9:49 PM
Great detail in your insights Mr. Duke. I think dispatchers are really apart of the team because they communicate with justice professionals daily and face critical pressure to keep composer. I do hear news occasionally when dispatchers end the line simply because the person on the other end was lacking the respect for them. Maybe if this petition goes around and gains momentum there will be less hangups by the dispatcher? The article states that they would like to be classified as "Protective Service". With this new title they will receive the respect and performance as they desire.
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How the Coming Church-State Showdown Could be Avoided

How the Coming Church-State Showdown Could be Avoided | Criminology and Economic Theory | Scoop.it
The Supreme Court has ample reason to avoid deciding a case that could erode the Establishment Clause.
Rob Duke's insight:
See these cases for background:


The Lemon Test:

First, the statute must have a secular legislative purpose; second, its principal or primary effect must be one that neither advances nor inhibits religion; finally, the statute must not foster "an excessive government entanglement with religion."
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Bello: Chile in a Spanish mirror | The Economist

Bello: Chile in a Spanish mirror | The Economist | Criminology and Economic Theory | Scoop.it

A LONG dictatorship ended in a negotiated transition to democracy. The centre-left took office with a moderate programme, reassured the right by pursuing pro-market economic policies, added better social provision and reconnected the country to the world. Power later switched to the right, which persuaded the country that it had become democratic. Then the centre-left returned, this time as a new generation critical of the compromises of the transition. It veered further left but faced economic difficulties.

Spain? Yes. But Chile, too. Since the dictatorships of Generals Franco and Pinochet, politics in the two countries has run along uncannily parallel tracks, with Chile lagging Spain by ten to 15 years. In Spain, Felipe González, the Socialist prime minister in 1982-96, laid the foundations of democracy, combining liberal economic reforms with a new welfare state and leading the country into Europe. When José María Aznar of the conservative People’s Party (PP) took over, he continued many of Mr González’s policies. Then the Socialists returned under José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, who confronted the right through progressive social reforms (such as abortion and gay marriage) and by approving a Law of Historical Memory, an implicit criticism of the amnesty agreed during the transition.

Spain’s transition served as an example for democrats in Chile, where the centre-left Concertación coalition governed in the mould of Mr González from 1990 onwards (though with a more timid increase in public spending and welfare provision). In 2010, with Pinochet dead and discredited by his indictment for human-rights abuses by a Spanish judge, Sebastián Piñera, a billionaire businessman, won power for the centre-right. Like Mr Aznar, he followed policies similar to his predecessor’s. Then in 2014 Michelle Bachelet, who in her first term governed for the Concertación as a moderate, came back determined, like Mr Zapatero, to shake up the transition settlement, though in a different way. She has tried to push through reforms of tax, education, labour, pensions and the electoral system, as well as a new constitution, with the aim of replacing “the model” bequeathed by the dictatorship. One of her allies called this deploying a “retroexcavadora” (backhoe loader) against this legacy.
In Spain, Mr Zapatero’s government was overwhelmed by the euro crisis, which spawned Podemos, a new far-left party. The crisis, and then the left’s divisions, have delivered successive election victories for Mariano Rajoy and the PP. Chile has not suffered anything as dramatic. But the economy has grown sluggishly since 2014, partly because of the uncertainty caused by Ms Bachelet’s reforms, many of which have been clumsily handled.

Does the Chilean centre-left, now called the New Majority, face a Spanish future of division and defeat? The main credential of its likely candidate in a presidential election in November, Alejandro Guillier, is his past as a television anchorman. Although a senator since 2014, he comes over as a new face who is not part of a political class that, as in Spain, has been discredited by scandals. His ideas seem vague: he has both presented himself as a moderate and called for “rupture” with the present. Some on the centre-left call him a populist. Above all, he seems to stand for a continuation of Ms Bachelet’s model-breaking approach.

That may not help him. She is unpopular. Mr Guillier may also face rivals within the New Majority: the Christian Democrats may run their own candidate. A stronger far-left, akin to Podemos, has emerged from student protests in 2011.

With seven months to go, the election is still open, but it looks like Mr Piñera’s to lose. That seems to be the view of Ricardo Lagos, the most successful of the Concertación presidents. At the age of 79, he sought the support of the Socialist Party only to be snubbed in favour of Mr Guillier. In announcing his withdrawal this month he warned of the “strategic dispersion” of progressive forces” and a “conservative…restoration that could last many years”.

In Chile, as in Spain, the transition ushered in the most successful period in the country’s history, with greater prosperity and social progress. In both cases the centre-left began to go astray when it ceased to believe in its own success. That is not to deny that both countries have now moved on, and that both have new problems that need solving. Chile needs better public services and environmental regulation, less abuse by monopolies and a less unequal society. That amounts to improving “the model” rather than replacing it on ideological grounds. The job may well fall to Mr Piñera.

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The long arm of the policía: The arrest of two fugitive Mexican governors | The Economist

The long arm of the policía: The arrest of two fugitive Mexican governors | The Economist | Criminology and Economic Theory | Scoop.it

ONE of the odder pieces of evidence turned up by investigations of Javier Duarte, a former governor of the state of Veracruz, was an exercise book with his wife’s scrawl. “Sí merezco abundancia” (“Yes I deserve wealth”), she had written, over and over. During six years in charge of the state on the Gulf of Mexico, Mr Duarte allegedly did his best to acquire it. He was arrested at a resort in Guatemala on April 15th, after six months on the run. Five days earlier Tomás Yarrington, an ex-governor of the northern state of Tamaulipas, was nabbed in Florence, Italy. He had been eluding justice for five years.
The two fugitive governors are both former members of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), to which Mexico’s president, Enrique Peña Nieto, belongs. The attorney-general has investigated at least 11 state governors since 2010, nine of them from the PRI. Mr Peña once praised Mr Duarte and two other tainted governors as exemplars of the PRI’s “new generation”. This does its image no good ahead of an election in June in the State of Mexico, Mr Peña’s political home. The outcome will be a harbinger of next year’s presidential election (in which Mr Peña cannot run again). The governors’ arrest is a sign that the country is cracking down on corruption, though not yet hard enough.

Veracruz under Mr Duarte became “a state of terror”, according to the International Crisis Group, an NGO. At least 17 journalists were killed during his administration, from 2010 to 2016. He is being investigated on suspicion of having moved 233m pesos ($12m) of public money into ghost companies. Mr Duarte’s successor alleges that state hospitals administered fake cancer drugs to children during his rule. In 2016 the PRI lost control of the state for the first time in more than 80 years. Mr Duarte resigned in October, two months before the end of his term, and disappeared by the time an arrest warrant was issued a few days later.

Mr Yarrington, who governed Tamaulipas from 1999 to 2005, has been charged with collaborating with the Gulf Cartel, a drug gang. According to the Wall Street Journal, the state’s government provided bodyguards for him even as he was on the run from federal charges.
Such crookedness is an old problem. “Corruption is not a disagreeable characteristic of the Mexican political system: it is the system,” wrote Gabriel Zaid, an essayist, 30 years ago. At state level it may have got worse. When Mr Zaid was writing Mexican presidents (all of them priistas) removed governors almost at will. With the arrival of democracy in the 1990s power was dispersed and the president’s influence waned. In 2000 Vicente Fox of the National Action Party became the first non-PRI president in seven decades, but faced governors who were mostly from the former ruling party. To win their co-operation he sent more money and gave them licence to behave more or less as they wished. His successors have continued that practice.
The arrests of Messrs Duarte and Yarrington suggest that tolerance is waning. A freedom-of-information law (in force since 2003), social media and more assertiveness by the press and civil society have made it harder for politicians to get away with wrongdoing. The federal government faces the most scrutiny, but the demand for accountability is spreading to the states. A new “anti-corruption system” is supposed to police all levels of government, by co-ordinating corruption-fighting agencies and strengthening the federal auditor, among other things. It has yet to make a difference. Mr Peña no doubt hopes that voters will remember his party for chasing wrongdoers rather than advancing their careers.

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Form-based code with step-backs

Form-based code with step-backs | Criminology and Economic Theory | Scoop.it
Architect Laurence Qamar recently created a series of step-back proposals for the Woodstock Corridor In Portland, Oregon, illustrated above. "Instead of the boxy, ungainly 'space invaders' that have bedeviled other parts of the city, Qamar’s step-back code would assure that buildings step down to the street, and to existing residential and low-rise areas.  Developers using this code would trade the cost of the step-backs for a much greater certainty, stronger community support, higher quality and appeal, and lower risk for the project overall," writes architect and urban designer Michael Mehaffy.

Mehaffy explains how New York City has been shaped by step-backs that were required in its 1916 zoning, mitigating shadowing and other negative affects of tall buildings. "The code had the unintended benefit of leading to a new generation of “sculpted” buildings, like the Chrysler Building, the Empire State Building and many other icons of the era."
Rob Duke's insight:
Good urban planning and architecture create a safe neighborhood, with pride, functionality, and a sense of place.  Places where people want to live because the built spaces help them be better neighbors.
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Federal judge steps down and denounces mandatory minimum sentences

Federal judge steps down and denounces mandatory minimum sentences | Criminology and Economic Theory | Scoop.it
A federal judge in Tennessee who joined the bench in 2011 spent his last day on the job on Friday, then denounced mandatory minimum sentences in an interview the next day.

The judge, Kevin Sharp, resigned to join the employment and civil rights firm Sanford Heisler, which will now be called Sanford Heisler Sharp, the New York Law Journal (sub. req.) reports. Sharp said he left because he was excited about joining the firm, and he thinks it’s an important time to pursue civil rights cases, the article reports.

Sharp will establish a fifth office for the firm in Nashville.

But in an interview with The Tennessean, Sharp spoke about his frustration on the bench when his hands were tied by the law, and mentioned “drugs and guns” cases that require mandatory minimum sentences.

“The drugs-and-guns cases, you say it like that and it sounds like they’re all dangerous,” he said of the defendants. “Most of them are not. They’re just kids who lack any opportunities and any supervision, lack education and have ended up doing what appears to be at the time the path of least resistance to make a living.”
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