Category Archives: Race

New Blog Post: The man whose story inspired BlacKkKlansman, on the complicated reality of black cops

New Blog Post: Todd VanDerWerff, The man whose story inspired BlacKkKlansman, on the complicated reality of black cops, Vox.com, August 17, 2018.

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News Coverage: What is Prison Abolition?

News Coverage: John Washington, What is Prison Abolition? TheNation.com, July 31, 2018.

The movement that is trying to think beyond prisons as a tool to solve society’s problems.

New Article: The Cost of Justice: The Importance of a Criminal Defendant’s Ability to Pay in the Era of Commonwealth v. Henry

New Article: Cristina Rodrigues, The Cost of Justice: The Importance of a Criminal Defendant’s Ability to Pay in the Era of Commonwealth v. Henry, Northeastern Univ. L. Rev. Vol. 10, No. 1 (2018). Abstract below:

Individuals involved with the criminal courts are exposed to a minefield of fees. In fiscal year 2016, the (state) trial courts of Massachusetts collected over $99 million in fines, fees and court costs. Much of that amount came from the state’s poor residents, poor communities and communities of color, because those groups are dramatically over represented in criminal courts. Individuals who do not make criminal court ordered payments can be jailed. As a public defender in Boston, I see my clients burdened by these fees everyday.

In this article, I detail the way in which these criminal court fees are exacerbating the stark racial and economic inequalities that persist. The statistics are alarming. With great enthusiasm though, I argue that the Supreme Judicial Court’s (SJC) 2016 decision in Commonwealth v. Henry provides powerful legal tools for addressing the unjust imposition and collection of criminal court payments. In Henry, the SJC 1) barred judges from ordering defendants on probation to pay restitution amounts that are beyond their actual ability to pay and 2) barred the very common practice of extending a person’s probation for the sole purpose of collecting more restitution payments. These rules extend beyond what exists in most jurisdictions. In the article, I analyze Henry closely. I then argue that Henry’s rules should be formally extended to all criminal court payments. Doing so could render Henry a watershed case regarding the criminalization of poverty in Massachusetts and beyond. These rules will bring us a bit closer to actualizing the fundamental principle that no individual should be incarcerated for his poverty or treated more harshly by the courts based on his poverty.

New Op-Ed: Chicago Hiked the Cost of Vehicle City Sticker Violations to Boost Revenue. But It’s Driven More Low-Income, Black Motorists Into Debt

New Op-Ed: Melissa Sanchez, ProPublica, and Elliott Ramos, Chicago Hiked the Cost of Vehicle City Sticker Violations to Boost Revenue. But It’s Driven More Low-Income, Black Motorists Into Debt, July 26, 2018.

News Coverage: Why so many poor kids who get into college don’t end up enrolling

News coverage: Alvin Chang, Why so many poor kids who get into college don’t end up enrolling, Vox.com, August 3, 2018.

ICYMI (In Case You Missed It): 7 posts you should have seen this week but probably didn’t

In a week dominated by tragedy in Greece, Michael Cohen, and the aversion of trade war with Europe, there’s a lot that got swept under the rug. ICYMI:

(1) Tamar Haspel, The true connection between poverty and obesity isn’t probably what you think, Wash. Post, July 20, 2018.

(2) Myrna Pérez, How the Midterm Elections May Be Compromised, NYTimes.com, July  19, 2018.

(3) Charlotte Graham-McLay, New Zealand Grants Domestic Violence Victims Paid Leave, NYTimes.com, July 26, 2018. In a shocking reminder of what is possible when individuals in crisis are treated humanely and afforded a small measure of decency…

(4) Dylan L. Scott, Why Trump’s attacks on preexisting conditions are an attack on women, Vox.com, July 26, 2018. women_afford_care

 

 

 

 

 

(5) Dara Lind, Americans are stepping up to show reunited migrant families there’s more to their country than Trump, Vox.com, July 26, 2018. An informal welcoming committee is offering support — with everything from plane tickets to birthday cupcakes.

(6) Julia Carrie Wong, A year after Charlottesville, why can’t big tech delete white supremacists, TheGuardian.com, July 25, 2018.

(7) Tal Kopan & Nick Valencia, Exclusive: Listen to separated moms beg for their kids in court, CNN.com, July 24, 2018.

Newsflash: The War on Poverty is Not Won — Recent commentary on how far we still have to go in the fight against poverty

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When hunger is increasing in many urban areas and when poverty is increasingly concentrated post Recession, is the War on Poverty won? When women and children, particularly people of color, endure poverty at disproportionate and growing rates, that statement is just a cruel assertion from the Trump administration, aimed at making it easier to slap work requirements on the poor.

News Coverage: Alfred Lubrano, Is the War on Poverty ‘a success’ as the Trump administration proclaims? Philly.com, July 27, 2018.

News Coverage: Kriston Capps, The ‘War on Poverty’ Isn’t Over, and Kids are Losing, CityLab.com, July 18, 2018.

News Coverage: Robert L. Fischer, Why the War on Poverty Isn’t Over, in 4 Charts, TheConversation.com, July 20, 2018.

Op-Ed: Renée Loth, Trump declares victory in the war on poverty to punish the poor, BostonGlobe.com, July 20, 2018.

Op-Ed: Gregory Acs, Have we won the War on Poverty? Not yet, The Urban Institute, July 26, 2018.

Op-Ed: Will Bunch, No, Trump administration, we didn’t ‘win’ the War on Poverty, Philly.com, July 19, 2018.

 

New Article: Establishing a More Effective SAFMR System: The Cost and Benefits of HUD’s 2016 Small Area Fair Market Rent Rule

New Article: John Treat, Establishing a More Effective SAFMR System: The Cost and Benefits of HUD’s 2016 Small Area Fair Market Rent Rule, 51 U. Mich. J. L. Reform 643 (2018). Abstract below:

This Note analyzes the new HUD rule finalized in November 2016, which dramatically changed the structure of the Housing Choice Voucher program in select metropolitan areas. In August 2017, HUD suspended automatic implementation of the rule until 2020 for twenty-three of the twenty-four selected metropolitan areas, but in December 2017, a preliminary injunction was granted requiring HUD to implement the rule as of January 1, 2018. The rule as written changes the method for calculating the vouchers from using a metropolitan area-wide average to calculating a separate level for each zip code. Such a change could greatly deconcentrate poverty and reduce economic and racial segregation; a result that the current status quo has failed to accomplish. The new rule, however, is not without its flaws. This Note offers a number of recommendations for changing the rule to address these flaws: (1) tweaking metro area selection criteria to include large, highly-segregated areas; (2) granting public housing agencies flexibility in implementing the rule; (3) including new protections for gentrifying neighborhoods and additional funding for landlord outreach and mobility counseling; and (4) revising methodology to increase accuracy. Despite the problems with the new rule, as long as HUD is truly committed to implementing it, its benefits are likely to outweigh its flaws.

New Article: Intersectional Barriers to Tenure

New Article: Meera E. Deo,  Intersectional Barriers to Tenure, Cal Davis Law Review, Vol. 51, 2018.

As the title suggests, this article dissects the problems rife within law schools which present barriers to a more diverse academic legal community.

New Op-Ed: The Welfare Boogeyman

povastprogsThe Trump administration wants to rebrand social programs that millions of Americans rely on as “welfare.” Will we fall for it?

New Op-Ed: Suzanne Mettler, The Welfare Boogeyman, NYTimes.com, July 23, 2018.