Posts Tagged ‘entrapment’
* In case you missed it: I had a mini-reading of Snowpiercer yesterday, focusing on liberal guilt.
* Chicago’s Harold Washington College refused to hire a 66-year-old woman full-time because of her age, according to a federal lawsuit filed Thursday by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. I’m stunned people aren’t talking more about this; irrespective of the merits, this has the potential to completely upend academic labor practices if EEOC wins. What long-term adjunct couldn’t present a similarly compelling case of being “passed over” for a younger, less experienced candidate?
* The Historic Proof Obamacare Foes Are Dead Wrong On Subsidies. Well, they’re sure to abandon this specious line of malicious bullshit now!
* For 17 years, James Doyle was a nuclear policy specialist at the Los Alamos National Laboratory. Then he wrote an article that made the case for getting rid of nuclear weapons. After that, his computer was seized, he was accused of releasing classified information, and then he was fired. What happened?
* After writing all of this I realize that I am not leaving my profession, in truth, it has left me. It no longer exists. I feel as though I have played some game halfway through its fourth quarter, a timeout has been called, my teammates’ hands have all been tied, the goal posts moved, all previously scored points and honors expunged and all of the rules altered. A teacher resigns.
* Academics have finally “started” to talk about capitalism? Inconceivable!
* Take the example of online education, for which excitement is rapidly building in California. Morozov notes in the book that it might very well produce more graduates per dollar spent, but it also might miss the very point of education.
* An outrage of the week right in my own backyard: Botched ATF sting in Milwaukee ensnares brain-damaged man.
“I have never heard of anything so ludicrous in my life,” said Greg Thiele, who spent 30 years working for the Milwaukee Police Department including on undercover stings with federal agents, including those with the ATF. “Something is very wrong here.”
* And when continuity collides: The new Doctor Who companion’s ten-second appearance in Captain America.
* Two bad tastes that taste good together: Rand Paul filibusters drones.
* Apocalypse now: The amount of heat-trapping carbon dioxide in the air jumped dramatically in 2012, making it very unlikely that global warming can be limited to another 2 degrees as many global leaders have hoped, new federal figures show.
* The entrapment defense rarely succeeds, both in terrorism cases and more quotidian (usually drug-related) prosecutions, largely because “entrapment” means something very different in a courtroom than it does in ordinary usage. For nearly a century, the federal courts have allowed a criminal defendant to dodge criminal liability by showing that the governmentinduced her to commit an unlawful act. Once the accused makes such a showing, however, the government still has the opportunity to prove that she was predisposed to commit the crime, even before government agents entered the picture. If a jury accepts the government’s characterization, other factors—the nature or size of the “bait,” the complexity of the government artifice, or the independent wherewithal of the defendant to commit the crime—basically don’t matter: the defendant is still guilty. This means that when entrapment is at issue, the personality, reputation, criminal history, and political or religious beliefs of the accused become the centerpiece of the trial. Post-9/11 juries have had little trouble concluding that the disaffected Muslims (and occasional anarchists) ensnared by the FBI have been sufficiently “predisposed” to engage in terrorism.
* #slatepitches: What SimCity Teaches Us About Real Cities of the Future.
* Ephemeral third ring of radiation makes appearance around Earth. If we lived in a comic book, I bet this story would be fifteen times as awesome.
* And the latest issue of The New Inquiry posits time is the fire in which we burn.
My love of New Jersey and my love of This American Life collide in this week’s replay of a TAL episode I’ve mentioned before about Hemant Lakhani, controversially arrested and sentenced to decades in jail for selling one U.S. government informant a fake missile provided to him by a different U.S. government informant. Turns out the U.S. attorney in the case and interviewed on the program is Chris Christie, currently leading the polls against Jon Corzine for governor of New Jersey. The case is misleadingly highlighted on Christie’s Web site as one of his “cases that made a difference”:
Obscure businessman and British citizen, Hemant Lakhani, came on the radar screen of the FBI because of his desire to broker the sale of shoulder-fired missiles to shoot down American passenger jets. His independent efforts to find an arms buyer and his persistence in completing a deal that would result in a terrorist attack in the United States sealed the image of someone predisposed and motivated to follow through with terrorist acts.
Chris Christie led the team that prosecuted Mr. Lakhani, ultimately securing a conviction and putting him behind bars for the rest of his life.
If you listen to the episode you’ll see almost none of this is correct; in particular, the “deal” would certainly not have resulted in a terrorist attack on the United States because everyone involved but Mr. Lakhani was working on behalf of the United States government. Lakhani is a fool, but almost certainly not an arms trader and probably no danger to anyone—and to all appearances the Lakhani case is an debacle and an embarrassment for the DOJ, making no “difference” at all in the context of the larger prosecution of al Qaeda and highlighting the danger of career prosecutors who seek convictions over just results.