“Five confessions elicited by Brooklyn detective Louis Scarcella all began with similar language: ‘You got it right’ and/or ‘I was there.’” One was that of David Ranta, released after serving 23 years after district attorneys concluded there were serious irregularities in his conviction, and another was that of Jabbar Washington, who had an alibi but was nonetheless convicted on the strength of a confession he says Scarcella forced him to sign. [New York Times and more via ABA Journal] More: Scott Greenfield was on it last month.
Unpaid internships have long been a path of opportunity for students and recent grads looking to get a foot in the door in the entertainment, publishing and other prominent industries, even if it takes a generous subsidy from Mom and Dad.
But those days of working for free could be numbered after a federal judge in New York ruled this week that Fox Searchlight Pictures violated minimum wage and overtime laws by not paying interns who worked on production of the 2010 movie “Black Swan.”
Jury selection, or de-selection, begins in the George Zimmerman-Trayvon Martin murder trial. The quote above comes from potential juror B37, regarding her consumption of newspapers. [Washington Post; my two cents a while back on jury selection]
“Old crisis creates new leviathan” [Barton Hinkle] Some other things that maybe should happen before Snowden gets prosecuted [Bruce Schneier] “Were they here, my parents might have asked, ‘What happened to America?’” [Nat Hentoff]
Candidate Obama, meet President Obama; on surveillance, you’ll find you have little in common [graphic courtesy Caleb Brown, Cato at Liberty] Don’t say the president wants to be trusted with complete discretion unfettered by the other branches of government; that’s his assassination program, not his surveillance program [Jacob Sullum]
A different view: two leading libertarian legal thinkers, Roger Pilon and Richard Epstein, defend the NSA surveillance program [Chicago Tribune]
What would it take to bring back a Watergate-era spirit of reform? [Jesse Walker]
“As the NSA has made all too clear, unless we update our concept of the Fourth Amendment to fit the realities of the Internet Age, those general warrants [despised by colonists] will be back — on a far larger scale, and in secret.” [Julian Sanchez]
David Bosco, assistant professor at American University and contributing editor at Foreign Policy magazine, tweeting about the U.N. international small arms treaty that’s met withintenseopposition from some gun-rights groups:
I predict US will sign arms trade treaty late on a Friday afternoon in summer.
Illinois isn’t exactly a state known as hospitable to liability reform, but here’s this: “The Illinois House and Senate recently passed SB1042, a bill that protects property owners from liability if they allow the public on their land to hike, fish, watch birds or participate in other forms of outdoors recreation. The bill now goes to Gov. Pat Quinn for his signature.” [State Journal-Register]
More, via Free-Range Kids, a surprisingly good insurance-company ad, from Allstate:
Sen. Lindsey Graham would propose censoring Americans’ “snail” mail if he thought it would help protect national security, the South Carolina Republican said Tuesday. But for now, he says he doesn’t think it’s necessary.
Shorter Ta-Nehisi Coates: flaws of rent-to-own housing in ’50s Chicago prove US economic arrangements are a plot to immiserate blacks [The Atlantic] Yet Sinclair’s The Jungle, set 40 years before, showed very similar housing scams being played on Slavic newcomers.
Minnesota high court dodges Fourth Amendment worries re: rental inspection program [Ilya Shapiro, Cato, link fixed now]
Don’t just think vacuum cleaners, think J. Edgar Hoover. [Gene Healy, Washington Examiner] In fact there’s a long history of misuse of ostensibly secure law-enforcement files and databases [1993 GAO report; Robert F. Weir, ed., book on Stored Tissue Samples; unlawful private-investigator access to the National Crime Information Center (NCIC), the FBI's electronic criminal-records database] Once DNAdatabases are open to varied queries from multiple law enforcement agencies, can we presume them immune from abuse? Even the NSA, whose level of professionalism is presumedly far higher than that of local law enforcement agencies, is no stranger to stories about gratuitous and offensive abuse of privacy. And, writes Jim Harper, the evidence is that the NSA has gathered telecom metadata on a dragnet basis (as distinct from individualized suspicion) not merely for data mining, but to assist in investigations of persons who may happen to come under suspicion in the future, quite a different rationale.
More: “Was a Telecom CEO Sent to Prison Because He Resisted NSA?” [Alexander Cohen, Atlas, on Joseph Nacchio's prosecution on insider trading charges after QWest refused to participate in surveillance] For many other telecoms, at any rate, fear of regulatory muscle will turn them into eager cooperators [Ira Stoll on Verizon] Related: 2007.
After the Ninth Circuit takes a further look, it would surprise no one if the merits of the case wound up back at the Supreme Court. I touched on the merits in this earlier post:
Max Boot, who has written a new book on the history of guerrilla movements, tells how Shamil, firebrand leader of a celebrated 19th-century Muslim insurgency in Chechnya and Dagestan, began to lose the allegiance of “many ordinary villagers who balked at his demands for annual tax payments amounting to 12 percent of their harvest.” Instead, they switched their allegiance to the rival Russian czar, whose demands were more modest.
The USDA’s marketing order committee demanded that the Hornes hand over 47 percent of their raisins without compensation.
Both houses of the legislature in Connecticut have approved legislation aimed at requiring the labeling of (near-ubiquitous) foodstuffs with genetically modified (GMO) ingredients. The Senate’s version includes an “all jump off together” clause preventing it from going into effect until at least four states have joined in on the idea, which must cumulatively have a population of at least 20 million, and must include at least one state adjacent to Connecticut. [Greenwich Time, Ron Bailey, related ("food companies should just go ahead and slap labels on everything they sell reporting: 'This product may contain ingredients derived from safe modern biotechnology.'")] Earlier here (NY Times is surprisingly sensible on subject), here, here, here, etc.
Thanks to California Supreme Court, SEIU can tell dissenters we know where you live [DC Examiner] Recalling a furor over member privacy and databases at another large union, UNITE HERE [Labor Union Report, "pink sheeting"]
“The fact that it took forced austerity measures for Greece to fire even *corrupt* public servants speaks volumes.” [Christian Science Monitor via @radleybalko]
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