Category Archives: Articles

Article: “Police Violence and Citizen Crime Reporting in the Black Community”

Article: Matthew Desmond, et al., “Police Violence and Citizen Crime Reporting in the Black Community,” 81 American Sociological Review 857 (2016).

High-profile cases of police violence—disproportionately experienced by black men—may present a serious threat to public safety if they lower citizen crime reporting. Using an interrupted time series design, this study analyzes how one of Milwaukee’s most publicized cases of police violence against an unarmed black man, the beating of Frank Jude, affected police-related 911 calls. Controlling for crime, prior call patterns, and several neighborhood characteristics, we find that residents of Milwaukee’s neighborhoods, especially residents of black neighborhoods, were far less likely to report crime after Jude’s beating was broadcast. The effect lasted for over a year and resulted in a total net loss of approximately 22,200 calls for service. Other local and national cases of police violence against unarmed black men also had a significant impact on citizen crime reporting in Milwaukee. Police misconduct can powerfully suppress one of the most basic forms of civic engagement: calling 911 for matters of personal and public safety.

(Texas Size) Texas Law Review Symposium: “The Constitution and Economic Inequality”

Texas Law Review Symposium: “The Constitution and Economic Inequality”

Article: “‘Mirror, Mirror, on the Wall…’: Reflections on Fairness and Housing in the Omaha-Council Bluffs Region”

Article: Palma Joy Strand, “‘Mirror, Mirror, on the Wall…’: Reflections on Fairness and Housing in the Omaha-Council Bluffs Region,” Creighton Law Review (forthcoming).

In 2016, eighty years after the federal Home Owners Loan Corporation (HOLC) drew redlining maps that solidified existing local segregation and gave the green light to suburban development, the residential patterns of race and socioeconomics in the Omaha, Nebraska, region embody those New Deal decisions. Inspired by recent regulations from HUD that intensify the agency’s responsibility under the Fair Housing Act to Affirmatively Further Fair Housing, this article looks past current inequities in housing to the institutional structures that facilitated White suburban growth after World War II. Special districts known as Sanitary and Improvement Districts (SIDs) gave – and continue to give today – private developers access to municipal bonds without significant public oversight. Historically, these SIDs provided market-rate housing to exclusively White residents; today they provide market-rate housing to predominantly White residents. Following SID development, the City of Omaha, which has extensive annexation powers under state law, annexes the SIDs, absorbing both their tax base and their remaining debt. This article describes this SID annexation development regime and the ways in which it diffuses responsibility for providing affordable housing and access to neighborhoods of opportunity throughout the metropolitan region. The article proposes an accounting and reconsideration of the existing development regime.

Article: “Micro-Housing in Seattle: A Case for Community Participation in Novel Land Use Decisions”

Article: Patrick Carter, “Micro-Housing in Seattle: A Case for Community Participation in Novel Land Use Decisions,” 39 Seattle U. L. Rev. 1031 (2016).

Rather than relying solely on the formal interpretations of government regulators invited by the structure of local zoning ordinances, the City of Seattle should adopt a process that invites community-based mediation and problem-solving when a significant shift in housing density is contemplated in a developer’s proposal. Greater resident participation in development projects allows the City of Seattle to better support those residents in their reliance interests arising from zoning ordinances while simultaneously furthering the policies that underpin urban zoning. This is especially true when such development projects raise the possibility of substantial impacts on the character of a community or its commons. Moreover, such alternative dispute resolution processes may also help to mitigate potential detriments to the community commons or provide a mechanism for an equitable exchange of capital between developers and residents to offset negative impacts to property values. This Note specifically examines the development of urban residential property into micro-housing apartment buildings in the City of Seattle, the possible consequences, and a potential community-based solution for disputes regarding such development. Part I introduces the issue using anecdotal and quantitative information, including snapshots of some of the conflicts between urban homeowners and developers and the sometimes questionable application of local zoning ordinances to favor development in the context of micro-housing in Seattle. Included in this discussion is a summary of the “smart growth” principles that supported the development and the countervailing interests of incumbent residents. Part II examines Washington State’s Growth Management Act and suggests how it may have impacted the quick acceptance of micro-housing development in Seattle. Part III explores incumbent residents’ reliance interests in zoning ordinances for protection against externalities and maintenance of consumer surplus in their homes. Part IV reviews the potential harms suffered by residents adjacent to dramatic residential development and the legal remedies available at law. Finally, I offer a community-based solution to allow for the redress of such harms.

Article: “Corporate Governance and Income Inequality: The Role of the Monitoring Board”

Article: Ezra Wasserman Mitchell, “Corporate Governance and Income Inequality: The Role of the Monitoring Board,” Shanghai University of Finance and Economics School of Law (Oct. 2016).

Does corporate governance play a role in income inequality? If so, how? This paper pursues this inquiry, beginning with an examination of the causes of significant income inequality throughout twentieth and early twenty-first century American history. The parallel developments of financial practices and board structures over these periods reveal the relatively contemporaneous rises of shareholder valuism and the modern monitoring board, with the latter providing institutional structure and norm propagation for the former, thus serving as a corporate governance channel through which income inequality is perpetuated.

History further reveals the monitoring board to be an institutional component of finance capitalism, and the so-called managerial board that dominated during a period of relative income equality to be an institutional component of industrial capitalism.

Some cautious reform suggestions are offered, but the purpose of this paper primarily is diagnostic. It also serves as a cautionary tale for developing nations in the process of building their institutional structures.

Jotwell Review of The Poverty Industry

Ezra Rosser, Robbing the Poor, JOTWELL (Nov. 23, 2016) (reviewing Daniel L. Hatcher, The Poverty Industry: The Exploitation of America’s Most Vulnerable Citizens (2016))

Article: “Families Facing Tax Increases Under Trump’s Latest Tax Plan”

Article: Lily L. Batchelder, “Families Facing Tax Increases Under Trump’s Latest Tax Plan,” NYU School of Law (Sept. 2016).

Donald Trump’s latest tax plan would cost more than $5 trillion over 10 years. Trump claims his plan would cut taxes for every income group, with the largest tax cuts for working- and middle-class families. But despite its enormous price tag, his plan would actually significantly raise taxes for millions of low- and middle-income families with children, with especially large tax increases for working single parents.

This paper explains why Trump’s latest tax plan raises taxes on so many families and provides examples of how large these tax increases would be. I conservatively estimate that Trump’s plan would increase taxes for roughly 7.8 million families with minor children. These families who would pay more taxes represent roughly 20% of households with minor children and more than half of single parents. They include roughly 25 million individuals and 15 million children.

Article: “Lessons Learned from Ferguson: Ending Abusive Collection of Criminal Justice Debt”

Article: Neil L. Sobol, “Lessons Learned from Ferguson: Ending Abusive Collection of Criminal Justice Debt,” 15 U. Md. L.J. Race Relig. Gender & Class 293 (2015).

On March 4, 2015, the Department of Justice released its scathing report of the Ferguson Police Department calling for “an entire reorientation of law enforcement in Ferguson” and demanding that Ferguson “replace revenue-driven policing with a system grounded in the principles of community policing and police legitimacy, in which people are equally protected and treated with compassion, regardless of race.” Unfortunately, abusive collection of criminal justice debt is not limited to Ferguson. This Article, prepared for a discussion group at the Southeastern Association of Law Schools conference in July 2015, identifies the key findings in the Department of Justice’s report and discusses the major points to be learned from the allegations in Ferguson. The lessons learned from Ferguson should be a guide to other municipalities that are or may be on the brink of developing similar abusive collection practices.

Article: “State Obligations Concerning Socio-Economic Rights in Times of the European Financial Crisis”

Article: Jernej Letnar Černič, “State Obligations Concerning Socio-Economic Rights in Times of the European Financial Crisis,” 11 BYU Int’l L. & Mgmt. Rev. 125 (2015).

New Article: “When Interests Converge: An Access-to-Justice Mission for Law Schools”

New Article: Raymond H. Brescia, “When Interests Converge: An Access-to-Justice Mission for Law Schools,” Geo. J. on Poverty L. & Pol’y (forthcoming).

In recent years, law schools have faced a crisis brought on by the external forces of technology, automation, and legal process outsourcing that has translated into poor job prospects for their graduates, and, in turn, a diminution in the number of students interested in attending law schools. Such external phenomena are joined by internal critiques of law schools: that they have failed to educate their students adequately for the practice of law and have adopted dubious strategies without a defining mission, all at a time when the market for legal services seems to be changing, perhaps dramatically. Paradoxically, while graduates face diminished job prospects, there is still a vast justice gap: the inability of millions of Americans to obtain legal assistance when facing a legal problem. There is thus an interest convergence between those who might want access to a lawyer and the law schools that strive to educate the next generation of lawyers and the ones after that. This Article uses this interest convergence — and the late Derrick Bell’s “Interest Convergence Theory” as a lens through which to view it — as an opportunity for law schools to retool their missions to confront the access-to-justice crisis facing many Americans. It argues that law schools should embrace an access-to-justice component to their missions to help increase demand for legal services, re-establish the value of legal assistance to the community, restore the importance of the legal profession in preserving and extending societally important rights and interests, and improve the demand for legal education.